By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff
Two U.S. House of Representatives committees with jurisdiction over healthcare legislation have approved a bill to repeal, replace and amend much of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly referred to as Obamacare. Considered the first phase of reforming the ACA, the House Ways and Means and Energy & Commerce Committees took up their respective portions of the legislation, titled the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
SEMA is in the process of analyzing the reform proposal and the amendments being made by the committees. The bill repeals the ACA’s tax provisions, including tax penalties for individuals and employers, provides tax credits to individuals to purchase health insurance, expands Health Savings Accounts, provides money to states to manage a safety net fund and phases out the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid. The bill has been billed as the first phase of a plan to replace the ACA. Due to the expedited procedure being used to pass the AHCA, Congress will have to take up separate bills under traditional rules to address items, such as interstate shopping for health care, creation of nationwide health insurance buying pools and medical liability reform.
While the bill now proceeds to the Budget Committee and House floor, it still faces many challenges. It has not yet received a cost estimate by the Congressional Budget Office and faces opposition in the Senate.
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