Today’s print edition of the Business Journal includes a story about the proposed American Health Care Act, the Republican-backed challenge to the Affordable Care Act, which the House was initially supposed to vote on yesterday. The story went to press Wednesday, while the vote was still planned for Thursday. A lot can happen in two days, however. The House postponed the possible repeal of the ACA until today because of a rumored lack of support within the GOP and among moderates.
And while the repeal of the ACA was one of President Donald Trump’s most touted campaign promises, he told lawmakers yesterday that if the AHCA wasn’t put to a vote today, current law would remain.
NBC News reported at least 30 Republicans were either against or considering voting against the implementation of the AHCA.
“Trump issued lawmakers an ultimatum Thurday [sic] night,” according to Fox News. “He wants the House to vote Friday on the legislation to begin dismantling ObamaCare [ACA] and if it fails, he is ‘done with health care,’ and ready to move on to tax reform.”
Last week’s report on the AHCA by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation was instrumental in the bill’s rocky start.
“CBO and JCT estimate that, in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law,” the analysis said. “Most of that increase would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate. Some of those people would choose not to have insurance because they chose to be covered by insurance under current law only to avoid paying the penalties, and some people would forgo insurance in response to higher premiums.
“Following additional changes to subsidies for insurance purchased in the nongroup market and to the Medicaid program,” the report said, “the increase in the number of uninsured people relative to the number under current law would rise to 21 million in 2020 and then to 24 million in 2026.”
The report states that, by 2026, an estimated 52 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.
Chris Tholan, vice president of financial policy at the Colorado Hospital Association, told the Business Journal that in his 20 years in health care, he’s never seen so many unknowns.
And that was before the past two days.