National WIC Association

Washington Update: ACA Repeal Passes the House, Omnibus Passes the Senate

May 4, 2017

ACA Repeal Passes in the House: The Republican-sponsored American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed the House 217-213 this afternoon. No Democrats voted for the bill, and 20 Republicans voted against it. The bill would largely repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

House Republicans spent the last several weeks trying to revive their original version of AHCA, which failed to win enough support in March and never made it to a floor vote.

Republican lawmakers made several revisions to the bill, including a recent amendment that would add $8 billion over five years and that Republican leadership claims to cover insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, but many analysts disagree about the provision's adequacy.

Nevertheless, the addition appeared to win support from moderate Republicans who previously opposed the bill as well as some who were undecided.

In a troubling move, House Republican leaders moved forward with the vote today despite the lack of a score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which estimates how it would affect Americans with health insurance and the federal deficit. The CBO's score of the original bill estimated that 24 million people would lose their insurance coverage over the course of the next ten years.

The bill would (among other things): Repeal the individual and employer mandates put in place by the ACA that requires people to carry insurance or face a tax penalty; provide refundable tax credits to help people afford coverage; expand health savings accounts; and phase out an expansion of Medicaid.

Among the significant losers, according to the New York Times, National Public Radio, and other sources:

  • Poor people
  • Older Americans (in most states)
  • People with pre-existing health conditions (especially in certain states)
  • State governments
  • Hospitals

Health and medical advocacy groups have openly opposed the AHCA through all of its forms. The president of the American Medical Association (AMA), Andrew W. Gurman, warned Wednesday that "millions of Americans will lose their health insurance as a direct result of this proposal."

AHCA now faces an uncertain path in the Senate. Senators will wait up to two weeks for CBO to review the current version of the bill, and then it could take another several weeks to agree on revisions. The revised Senate bill would then be sent back to the House or to a conference committee for more negotiations.

We will keep you posted of the bill’s progress.

Omnibus Passes in the Senate: The Senate has passed a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill this afternoon that would keep the government running until September, with a vote of 79-18. The House passed the bill Wednesday in a 309-118 vote. The omnibus bill will now head to President Trump’s desk. You can read more about the spending bill by visiting our Weekly WIC Policy Update from Monday.