American Health Care Act
Bill Number: HR-1628
The bill still needs to pass the Senate and be signed by the president to become law.
A bill to provide for reconciliation pursuant to title II of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2017.
Other names for this bill
This bill often is referred to as the AHCA (acronym for American Health Care Act).
Because of the complicated way this bill has been discussed and modified in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, we are documenting three versions.
This version is the bill the Senate agreed on July 25 to debate. It is the only version that has a chance to become law. if passed by the Senate, it will need to be reconciled with the House through a conference committee.
The other two were preliminary ones considered by each house of Congress...
Note that this bill started out as the House version of the AHCA. However, the Senate plans to change significant parts of it by amendment. We will document that process, as well as the final version of the bill, here.
Several unusual paths were taken
This bill was intended to repeal and replace parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Both the House and Senate versions were written in an unusual way, in that they bypassed the normal process of being approved by a Congressional committee before being debated by the entire House or Senate. This time, however, both versions were introduced and then subject to changes without really having a clear agenda for a national health care policy.
Senate Republicans were using the budget reconciliation process in order to pass this bill without making it subject to a filibuster.
However, after Amendment 667 - the skinny repeal - failed to pass, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell removed the entire bill from consideration. It still remains active and can be reconsidered at any time McConnell chooses, but it is expected to remain dormant for the immediate future.
This amendment would gut Obamacare
This amendment was called a clean repeal. It simply repeals key parts of Obamacare.
It is a near-duplicate of the Obamacare repeal bill that Congress passed in 2016 but was vetoed by President Barack Obama.
Provisions would be phased in over two years, ostensibly to give Congress time to come up with an alternative health care policy.
This amendment was submitted by submitted by Rand Paul. It was rejected.
Click here to see how your senator voted.
The single payer ruse
This amendment would have replaced the entire text of the bill with one that would have created a single-payer health care system.
It is identical to the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act submitted in the House of Representatives by Rep. John Conyers.
Though no Republicans are on record as supporting a single-payer system, this amendment was submitted by Steve Daines - a Republican.
Every Republican - including Daines - voted against it. So they knew it would fail when they proposed it. The amendment simply was an attempt by Senate Republicans to get Democrats on the record for supporting a single-payer system.
Eliminating the tax on expensive employee insurance
This amendment would permanently eliminate the Cadillac Tax - the tax on high-end health insurance plans that some companies offer employees in lieu of a higher salary.
This amendment was submitted by Dean Heller. It was approved.
Because the overall bill did not pass, this amendment will have no effect even though it was approved. The Cadillac Tax still is scheduled to take effect in 2020.
Click here to see how your senator voted.
Simply eliminating the requirement to have insurance
This amendment would have replaced the entire bill with an 8-page bill referred to as the skinny repeal.
Had this amendment been approved, the bill would have kept the bulk of Obamacare in place. It would have...
This amendment was submitted by Mitch McConnell. It was rejected.
Replacing Obamacare with block grants to States
This amendment (in effect a full bill) would replace Obamacare with grants given to states. It would...
These benefits of Obamacare would be replaced with block grants given to states.
Each state would effectively be free to use the money to set up any type of health care it wanted. This includes eliminating the requirement that policies cover essential health benefits such as preventive care or maternity care, as well as allowing insurance companies to charge more for someone with pre-existing conditions.
Catastrophic plans - low cost plans with high deductibles and few benefits - would be available to anyone. Under Obamacare they are only available to those under age 30.
Policies would not be allowed to cover abortions. And funding for Planned Parenthood would be eliminated.
The amount someone could contribute to a Health Savings Account would be increased.
Some of the taxes that help pay for Obamacare, such as the Medical Device Tax, would be eliminated.
Click here to read the full text of this amendment.