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Recent Industry News

Federal Health Care Programs

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The United States House of Representatives (the “House”) recently voted to pass the American Health Care Act of 2017, H.R. 1628 (AHCA). The current version of the bill includes two amendments to the previous version from March 24, 2017. The revised legislation allows states to request waivers from some of the more onerous ACA provisions. Additionally, the AHCA now includes eight billion dollars in funding to improve state “high-risk pools” set up to provide coverage to those with pre-existing conditions that are unable to purchase insurance on the open market. The amendments garnered support from the more moderate and conservative members of the party that were opposed to the previous version. The latest AHCA bill passed in the House chamber on Thursday, May 4, 2017 by a narrow vote of 217-213.  The CBO cost estimate for the revised bill was released on May 24, 2017.

Key aspects of H.R. 1628, as recently passed, include the following:

  • Employers and individuals would no longer be mandated to provide or purchase insurance;
  • States could apply for waivers to opt out of providing: 1) essential health benefits; and 2) protection from age-rating and pre-existing condition insurance clauses;
  • The AHCA would repeal the taxes and fees on health insurance issuers and medical device and prescription drug manufacturers;
  • States would be required to roll back the Medicaid expansion under the ACA;
  • The AHCA would reduce Medicaid spending for the states;
  • Some consumers in the individual market, namely the lower-income and elderly, would receive less in premium assistance;
  • Insurers would be permitted to charge individuals with pre-existing conditions up to a 30 percent higher premium if they have a gap in coverage;
  • The maximum contribution limits to Health Savings Accounts would nearly double;
  • Tax penalties for non-eligible expenses would be reduced; and
  • Health Care Flexible Spending Account contribution caps would be eliminated.

The full text of H.R. 1628, as amended, can be found at:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1628/text.

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