We learned today that the Senate will release its version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Thursday or Friday of this week, with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score to be released next Monday. It is further anticipated that the Senate will hold a cloture vote next Wednesday. If the cloture vote succeeds then the vote on the AHCA would occur on Friday, June 30. Read More
The Senate has not released a draft of the bill. However, some of the main provisions in the bill are believed to include:
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to keep consumer protections with the community ratings because of concern for those with pre-existing conditions.
- There may be flexibility for states regarding Essential Health Benefits (EHBs).
- There may be additional dollars for exchanges to help with tax credits for individuals. Tax credits would factor in age and income to assist with the elderly and low-income population. However, there is concern about the proposed structure and limited funding.
- There will likely be provisions in the bill to help stabilize the insurance marketplace, but these must be structured and funded within the rules of reconciliation.
- McConnell would prefer a three-year phased-down approach to states that expands Medicaid. Other senators would like to see a five- or seven-year period.
- There is continued discussion about the inflationary index for the out years. Conservatives want a lower inflationary index, such as the Urban Consumer Price Index (CPI), and others prefer using Medical CPI inflator, which traditionally is a higher rate.
Under reconciliation, the bill requires a simple majority (51 votes) for passage. At this time, approximately 12 and 15 centrist senators still have concerns with the bill. In addition, there are three to four senators who are leaning more toward the provisions in the House version of the bill.
Sen. McConnell is working with the various groups in an attempt to garner the votes needed for passage. Once the bill language is released, along with the updated CBO score, the negotiations will intensify.