House Republicans Repeal Obamacare, Hurdles Await in Senate

The U.S. House of Representatives Thursday passed an amended health reform bill that shifts federal and state costs to counties, warns the National Association of Counties.

As reported by the National Association of Counties,

The U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote on an updated version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) today, May 4, after key Republican holdouts changed their votes from “no” to “yes.”

In a meeting with President Trump the morning of May 3, Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Billy Long (R-Mo.) agreed to vote for the AHCA after securing a new amendment intended to alleviate concerns around pre-existing conditions. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) is eager to hold the vote on the House floor before Congress goes on recess next week.

The amendment would add $8 billion over five years to high-risk pools, through which states can subsidize more expensive premiums for people with pre-existing conditions. This translates to $36 million per year per state, which may not be enough to cover the costs of premiums for these individuals. Additionally, studies have shown that high-risk pools can result in increased costs, decreased benefits and longer waiting lists.

These changes to the AHCA fail to address NACo’s overarching concern with how the bill would massively weaken the federal-state-local partnership that underpins our nation’s health care system and shift federal and state costs to counties. Under the AHCA, the federal government would cut Medicaid spending by over $800 billion over the next 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 24 million individuals, including 14 million Medicaid beneficiaries, would lose health insurance coverage.

The passage marked the Republicans’ biggest step yet toward replacing the Obama administration’s signature domestic policy law. The bill heads next to the Senate, however, where it faces an uncertain fate.

To read more about NACo’s initial concerns with the AHCA, click here.

To better understand counties’ role with Medicaid, click here.

To view an updated whip count of House votes courtesy of The Hill, click here.