WASHINGTON, DC — On 4 May 2017, the U. S. House of Representatives overcame fear-mongering from opposition party members to pass the American Healthcare Act. The American Healthcare Act is a bill that begins the process of repealing and replacing the prior Administration’s signature healthcare law. Noteworthy within the prior Administration’s law were a large number of taxes, mandated benefits to be included in all health plans, employer mandates and the prohibition against health insurance companies pricing health plans by the health of the customer.
A brief review of the summary of the American Healthcare Act shows that this bill does repeal many of the taxes included in the prior Administration’s healthcare law, as well as individual and employer mandates. It looks like the bill may also open up the definition of what coverages are allowed/required in ‘qualifying health care plans.’ More freedom is seldom a bad thing. The bill also allows health insurers to price their offered coverage according to the age and health condition of customers whilst also assisting those with ‘pre-existing conditions’ and severe health conditions in paying for their own coverage.
Further, it appears to allow States to decide whether to roll back the Medicaid expansion. Federal Funding for the Medicaid expansion will continue to remain available to States through 2020.
The American Healthcare Act has several hurdles yet to be crossed before it can become law. It must still be debated, amended and voted on in the U. S. Senate. It must have differences in the House and Senate versions worked out by a Joint Committee. The final version must pass both houses of Congress. Finally, the President must sign it into law.
This bill appears to go a long way toward removing the shackles the prior healthcare law placed on the entire U. S. economy with the taxes and mandates. Employers will be free to give more hours to part-time employees and to expand their businesses by hiring more total employees, without the mandate to provide expensive healthcare coverage.
Without the mandates, philanthropists, public-spirited organizations and religious denominations will have to step in to ensure that noone falls through the cracks.
The bill passed the House by a margin of 217 to 213, with no members of the Democrat Party voting for it.
Opinions expressed herein are my own and in no way reflect those of Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Military Department, the U. S. Army or the U. S. DoD. All of these organizations have their own public affairs offices and spokespersons, which do not actually include me.