Health Care Update: the American Health Care Act

During the week of March 20, Republican Leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives scheduled a vote on H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would have repealed and replaced the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ABC joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several other organizations on March 22, in sending a letter to the House in support of AHCA. However, by late Friday afternoon on March 24, House Republican leadership pulled the bill due to a lack of votes needed for passage. Based on recent statements made by President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, focus will now turn to tax reform and infrastructure spending.  

Repealing and replacing the ACA has been a priority issue for ABC since it was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Seven years later, it has failed to lower health insurance premiums for hard-working Americans while imposing new taxes as well as costly and burdensome federal mandates on ABC member companies. The ACA continues to create uncertainty and confusion in the construction industry, making it difficult for the nation’s contractors to plan for the future and create jobs.

Providing quality health care benefits is a top priority for ABC and its member companies. However, by forcing employers to offer government-prescribed health insurance, ABC member companies no longer have the choice or flexibility to structure health care coverage options that meet the needs of their fluctuating workforce. The resulting increased costs jeopardize the ability of ABC member companies to maintain affordable coverage options for their employees and will force some to drop coverage altogether. The ACA has only served to hurt employers and increase premiums for millions of Americans.
On April 28, 2016, ABC submitted a letter to the chairmen of the congressional Task Force on Health Care Reform urging them to take action on common-sense health care solutions.  In the letter, ABC expressed its strong support for the task force’s mission to “modernize American health care with a patient-centered system that gives patients more choice and control, increases quality and reduces costs.” 
The American Health Care Act:
On March 6, the House Republicans unveiled the AHCA. The legislation advanced in the following House committees:  Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, Budget and Rules.
On March 13, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the AHCA will reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion over 10 years as well as increase the number of uninsured to 24 million in 2026 relative to current law. In addition to reducing the federal deficit, Speaker Ryan stated that the CBO report validated that the AHCA will lower premiums by 10 percent and cut taxes by $880 billion

Following the CBO’s March 13 analysis, technical and policy changes were made to the AHCA, and on March 23, CBO revised its cost estimates to reflect the manager’s amendments. Amendments to the bill can be found here.     

ABC supported the following provisions included in the AHCA (several were included in ABC’s April 2016 letter):
Additional information on health care regulations and legislation can be found on ABC’s website, here or in Newsline