Stable or not, ACA repeal efforts continue
Friday, December 11, 2015
In another round of political posturing against the often-contentious Affordable Care Act, the Senate voted 52-47 last week to pass legislation that would repeal large swaths of the healthcare law. The bill, called Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, won House approval in October.
The vote, however, has no chance of moving forward while President Barack Obama is in office.
According to FierceHealthPayor, the legislation passed under special Senate budget rules known as reconciliation. Politico calls the event "a significant accomplishment" for Republicans because it "sets the stage for Congress' legislative strategy to repeal Obama's signature healthcare law should the GOP retake the White House."
Once again, the bill shows the plan of Republicans, who have been fiercely opposed to what they called "Obamacare." Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told the National Journal: "This sends a message that we're committed to repealing this and replacing it with patient-centered care."
FierceHealth says the bill repeals many of the ACA's key provisions, including the individual health insurance mandate, the employer mandate, the medical device tax and Medicaid expansion. The bill also repeals the highly unpopular Cadillac tax on high-cost health plans that have been an ongoing point of contention and pushback.
"Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid voted for that amendment," the site mentioned. No word from the White House, as is expected.
Among other things, the bill would prevent the federal government from running healthcare exchanges, eliminate insurance subsidies and repeal Medicaid expansion now underway in 30 states. It also would block federal funding for Planned Parenthood for one year.
However, not all of the current ACA headlines are of non-consequence. Based on news from UnitedHealth, which is considering leaving the ACA — an effect that would impact more than 500,000 people — there is news that more than a dozen consumer-operated and oriented plans are closing.
So, is the marketplace stable? These are the questions that have begun to permeate the space.
However fragile the law may or may not be currently, the Senate passage of the bill marks the first time this body of the Congress moved a bill forward that tweaks the ACA. The final vote in the Senate was along party lines.
It now goes back to the House — which has tried more than 50 times to repeal or change the legislation — for a second vote because the Senate amended the original bill.
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