Likely, you are hearing about potential health care reforms as they make their way through Congress.
On Monday, March 6, leaders in Congress unveiled their long-awaited legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill, titled the American Health Care Act (AHCA), does not repeal the ACA entirely but instead dismantles components, including the mandates and many of the taxes. The bill was released in two parts by the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The proposed legislation passed the Budget Committee on Thursday, March 16, and is now under review in the House Rules Committee.
On Monday, March 13, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost and coverage estimate on the AHCA. According to the nonpartisan agency’s analysis, the number of people without health insurance would grow by 14 million in 2018 under the proposed bill, with that number rising to 24 million in a decade.
Despite the CBO projections, House leadership say they are confident the AHCA is on track for a full House vote by the end of March.
Here are some key dates to know as the proposal makes its way through the legislative process:
- Week of March 20
- Bill goes to the House floor
- House leaders hope to schedule the full floor vote for the week of March 20, with the goal of having the AHCA passed and sent to the Senate before going on a two-week spring recess beginning April 7.
- The Next Phase
- Bill goes to the Senate
- In its current form, the bill requires 50 votes to pass the Senate.
- If the House and Senate bills are not identical, a conference committee is formed. A group of lawmakers from the two chambers iron out their differences with the bill, which is then presented to both chambers for a final vote.
- Once the bill passes both the House and Senate, it goes to the president to sign into law or veto.
Health reform is an important, yet ever changing, topic right now. What is decided could change how you, or a loved one, receives health insurance. Be an informed consumer. There are more changes to come.
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*Editor’s Note: On Friday, March 24, House leadership pulled the American Health Care Act (AHCA) from consideration on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. As a result, the scheduled vote on the AHCA did not take place and the Affordable Care Act remains the federal law that governs the nation’s health care system.