Today I voted against the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Like the original version of the bill, which failed to garner enough support for a vote in March, AHCA seeks to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a system of tax credits and Medicaid block grants.
In the March version of the bill we knew that:
- 81,000 fewer El Pasoans would have health care
- 2.5 million fewer Texans would have health care
- 24 million fewer Americans would have health care
- Americans would see premium increases of 15 — 20% in 2018 and 2019
- Millions of veterans not enrolled in the VA would lose health care
- Fewer resources would be available to combat the opioid crisis
- There would be no requirement for mental health parity
- Women’s reproductive health would be defunded
The most notable changes to this version of the bill are two amendments. First, the McArthur Amendment, which allows states to determine the minimum coverage in the health care plans they offer. Currently, the ACA requires insurers to cover a host of essential health benefits like hospital stays, mental health, and maternity care. This amendment will allow insurers to consider health status when setting prices. This will directly impact patients with pre-existing conditions and older Americans who will be charged more for coverage.
The second amendment is the Upton Amendment. It adds $8 billion over 5 years to the bill to help those with pre-existing conditions pay for their insurance and health care needs. Unfortunately, this is nowhere near enough and if implemented many people will soon find it difficult to pay for their health care needs.
There has been no updated analysis of this new version of the bill because it was rushed through without an official score from the Congressional Budget Office.
I voted against the bill which passed the House by a vote of 217–213. It now goes to the Senate where it meets an uncertain fate.