On Monday night, Republican leaders from two House committees—the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), and the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX)—released long-awaited draft bills to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Both committees are marking up their respective bills today.
For information about the bills, please see:
The provisions in the American Health Care Act include the following:
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has not yet scored the legislation, so it is unclear how much the plan would cost.
President Donald Trump touted the plan Tuesday on Twitter: “Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation. ObamaCare is a complete and total disaster - is imploding fast!”
Other members of the Republican party, however, are not so excited about the proposal. House conservatives have declared strong opposition, saying the refundable tax credits would create a new, expensive entitlement program. A staff report prepared for the Republican Study Committee criticizes a key component of the plan, calling the refundable tax credits “a Republican welfare entitlement.” In addition, Republican lawmakers have to contend with rising support for the ACA among constituents.
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats are not wavering in their opposition to ACA repeal. Democrats argue that people currently covered under Obamacare would be worse off under this plan. “The Republican repeal bill would charge them more money for less care,” Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Richard Neal (D-MA), ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement.
Many public health, nutrition, and anti-poverty groups have spoken out against the legislation and drafted resources delineating the damages this legislation would inflict on the most vulnerable Americans:
This bill would make health care coverage less affordable, less accessible, and less comprehensive and leave millions of people with chronic illness and disease at the mercy of insurance companies. According to a preliminary analysis from the rating agency Standard & Poor's, 6-10 million people could lose health insurance coverage if the Republican plan passes. Furthermore, the reductions in Medicaid funding called for in these bills would have real life consequences for WIC families and could potentially affect WIC participation and Medicaid Adjunctive Eligibility.
It should be noted that many of the bills’ provisions aren’t eligible for the reconciliation process, which requires provisions to have budgetary effects and allows policies to be passed with only a simple majority in the Senate (51 votes). In other words, parts of the bill will require 60 votes in the Senate. Given this fact, along with the vocal opposition to the bill from both political parties, it appears unlikely that this legislation will advance very far.
The National WIC Association will continue to work with our national partners and our friends in Congress to ensure that the consequences of the American Health Care Act do not have adverse impacts on current and potential ACA beneficiaries. If you would like to get involved in this effort, please consider the following actions: