The topic of healthcare policy and legislation is just about boring enough to some people to make their eyes glaze over and check out of the conversation. And that’s ok that not everyone cares to know all the ins and outs and details. The topic, though, does affect almost all Americans in one way or another, so it’s hard to argue that the topic itself isn’t an important one.
So if you haven’t been paying attention to the state of healthcare legislation in America, we don’t blame you—that’s what we’re here for and that’s our job. Today, we’d like to very briefly fill you in on the ongoing attempts to change or repeal the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as “Obamacare.”
A major campaign of promise of President Trump and many Republican senators and congressmen and women was to work on repealing the Affordable Care Act if they were elected. Since Republicans hold the executive branch and have the majority in the legislative branch, it goes to reason that they have indeed proceeded with their attempt to change or repeal the Affordable Care Act. So far there have been three major attempts.
The first attempt was to replace the Affordable Care Act with The American Health Care Act. The American Health Care Act was kind of seen as the “establishment” Republican plan, and it was heavily promoted by Republican leadership. Wisconsin’s own Paul Ryan was among the chief promotors of the plan which sought to keep some of the most popular parts of Obamacare, while repealing some of the mandates it made on individuals and employers. While the bill narrowly passed the House of Representatives, several changes were made to it when it went to the Senate. In July, the Senate voted (with a tie-breaking vote cast by Vice President Pence) to continue debate on The American Health Care Act.
Two days later, The Health Care Freedom Act was introduced and was given the nickname “skinny repeal.” It was called “skinny repeal” because this bill sought to just repeal Obamacare without replacing it with something else. This bill failed in the Senate with a 49-51 vote.
The most recent attempt at a fundamental change to Obamacare came with an amendment to the American Healthcare Act known as Graham-Cassidy. This amendment sought to keep much of the federal spending of Obamacare, but designated the distribution of the money to individual states in the form of block grants. After it became apparent that this would not pass the Senate, majority leader Mitch McConnell announced, at the end of September, that the bill would not be voted upon.
To summarize, The Affordable Care Act as it existed under President Obama is still the law of the land (minus a few items repealed via executive order). Given the numerous attempts of Republicans to repeal or change Obamacare, it does seem likely that more attempts will continue to be made. Only time will tell what, if anything, will pass, and how it will change healthcare policy.
At Milz Health Group, we follow the state of healthcare policy in America very closely so that we can best serve the good people of southeastern Wisconsin with the very best guidance in helping them select great coverage at a great price. If you need help navigating what has become a maze in Medicare, Obamacare, and healthcare in general, give us a call today. We’re experts at what we do and we’re here to help!