The American Hospital Association (AHA) has issued a special bulletin noting that Senate leadership is expected to unveil its draft version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Thursday.

Sen. Mike Rounds, speaking on Wednesday, said there are three areas of focus:

  • Market stabilization – gradual transition process over a period of years
  • Continued subsidies for premiums
  • Better management of Medicaid so states have more control over Medicaid

Rounds stated he would like the bill to include guaranteed renewal of coverage, portability, no exclusions for pre-existing conditions as long as you have ongoing coverage and a permanent authorization of the Indian Health Act. He said doesn’t anticipate changes to subsidies until 2021.

Rounds sees positives to Medicaid changes because he thinks the equalization between high-cost and low-cost states will be achieved through larger inflationary rates allowed for low-cost states such as South Dakota. He thinks the bill will show a continuation of subsidies for those that need it – low income and seniors – but he views this as a transitional plan until 2021 or later in order to allow time to stabilize the market.

Rounds said he’s not sure at this point if there are 50 votes for the legislation, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Senate leadership team wants to finalize and see where the votes are.

The AHA says Senate Republicans will hold a meeting Thursday morning in which they’ve been told they will see draft legislative text and receive a briefing. The Senate Parliamentarian will require that Democrats have sufficient time to review the final bill to bring parliamentary objections regarding the bill’s privilege to budget reconciliation expedited protections.

Leadership intends to schedule a vote on the final legislation before Congress adjourns for the Fourth of July recess.

Both AHA and SDAHO are asking members to reach out to their senators to share concerns related to problematic provisions in the House version. If you haven’t already done so, please take this opportunity to contact Sen. John Thune and Sen. Mike Rounds through this link to send your message.