ACA Watch July 11, 2017
Today GOP leaders will meet with other Republican Senators to discuss new revisions of the most recent health care bill to that intends to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA) has faced criticism from GOP moderates, as well as being unpopular with lobbying groups and the general public who fear the loss of coverage for vulnerable Americans, (as predicted by the CBO score.)
Ten GOP Senators oppose the version of the BCRA bill released on June 22. The party holds majority power but cannot afford to lose more than two GOP votes. (The Hill)
With major news outlets labeling the bill “dead,” the GOP quickly saw that a "resuscitation," of sorts, was in order. The party wishes to bridge the gap between GOP moderates and conservatives by issuing a newly revised health care bill later this week. (The Hill)
No Summer Vacation
2017 has shown us a relentless news cycle that takes no summer vacation. We have come to expect political twists and overnight surprises heard over breakfast. New health care bills are no exception—the GOP House bill, Senate bill, amendments, multiple CBO scores—it’s hard to keep track.
Fortunately, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides clarity with their superb side-by-side Comparison of the AHCA and the BCRA, offering a 3 columns that compare:
- Current law
- The American Health Care Act (AHCA)
- The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA)
GOP Senators have announced that they hope to make the amended BCRA bill public by the end of this week, followed by a new CBO score and Senate vote.
So, what parts of the bill have wiggle room? To woo moderates, the new bill may include the following:
- Adding billions of dollars to a long-term state fund to provide health care cost assistance for low-income individuals
- Promising $45 billion dollars for opioid treatment to appease moderates from states with opioid epidemic
- Regulatory reforms to appease conservatives (The Hill)
According to Republican Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), “I do need a complete overhaul to get a yes.” (The Hill)
ECFC sources report that a revised bill will be introduced by the end of this week. A CBO score is necessary before the bill can come to a vote. The new CBO score is speculated to be released Thursday next week.
As a long-time member of the Employers Council for Flexible Compensation (ECFC), Employee Benefits Corporation will continue to provide ACA Watch updates as legislation continues to evolve.