The US Senate on Thursday released their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which passed the House on May 5th. Like the proposal that passed in the House, the Senate bill seeks to repeal significant portions of the Affordable Care Act, including a phase out of Medicaid expansion and a per-capita cap to replace federal Medicaid matching.
“The draft bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act released today by the U.S. Senate’s GOP majority does absolutely nothing to assuage the concerns of Massachusetts hospitals, health systems and other providers about the damage such legislation would do to our state and national healthcare systems and most of all to patients,” said MHA President & CEO Lynn Nicholas, FACHE. “While the ACA wasn’t perfect, I challenge any Republican Senator to name one thing in this bill that will make healthcare in the US better for patients or the healthcare professionals who care for them. In fact, the Senate proposal will make all involved worse off compared to the benefits offered by the Affordable Care Act.”
A budget analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is due by Monday, June 26, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced plans to schedule a vote next week.
Even without a CBO score, it’s clear this bill would still reduce access to affordable coverage for low and middle income families, increase medical debt and out-of-pocket costs for patients, exacerbate cost-shifting to employer insurance and increase the amount of uncompensated care hospitals and other providers would face as the number of uninsured individuals increases.
“If the House Affordable Health Care Act was a ‘mean’ bill, the Senate version is a ‘nasty’ one,” Nicholas added. “We are fortunate to have our entire congressional delegation working to defeat this repeal effort and a governor working in concert with them to minimize the harm posed to our state.”