The American Healthcare Act (AHCA) is hot discussion in the healthcare industry today. The House Republicans had canceled voting on the bill previously, as there were not enough members committed to support the bill earlier. However, on May 4, the House Representatives have passed AHCA by a vote of 217 against 213, to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Republicans were continuing their efforts to bring the holdout members on board to pass the bill. After the vote was cancelled, President Trump said that he would pressurize the Congress to move on to other important things like tax reform and infrastructure. At that time, it was unclear when the Congress would return to the AHCA.
Even though a majority of the Republicans supported AHCA, two factions of the party, the conservative House Freedom Caucus (HFC) and the moderate Tuesday Group, opposed AHCA. Each of these groups had enough votes to prevent the House Republicans from bagging the votes required to pass the bill, as it was clear right from the beginning that the Democrats will not support repealing and replacing the ACA. The White House and House Leadership had tried to negotiate support from the groups, but it was impossible to get the support of one without losing the other.
On the other hand, it was difficult for the House Republicans to hold up AHCA for long owing to political and policy reasons. For the first time since the passing of ACA, Republicans control both the chambers of Congress and the White House. This gives them the best opportunity to repeal and replace Obamacare, and many political experts claim that failing to repeal and replace ACA will have a big impact in midterm elections.
President Trump and the White House were very much responsible for the push to pass AHCA. President Trump was much eager to have a rewarding “first hundred days” and the White House was trying hard to find support for the bill. Two amendments were also introduced to get the support of holdout groups. The first one allows states to apply for waivers from some ACA standards including some of the community rating rules and essential health benefit requirements, whereas the second includes an additional 8 billion dollars to offer insurance subsidies for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Under the AHCA, health services and plans will still be prohibited from refusing insurance coverage to people with a pre-existing condition. In addition, the plans will be prohibited from “risk rating” the enrollees based on their gender. However, a state will be able to request a waiver of “community rating” requirement, if there were certain protections in place.