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Last 2017 repeal effort fails: ACA remains law of the land

In July, Republicans made dramatic efforts to pass Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and replace legislation. Middle of the night theatrics played out a failed vote as Senator John McCain (AZ) cast the deciding “no” vote. For all intents and purposes, it appeared that Republicans were moving on from health care reform and looking towards immigration or tax reform. However, this September, Republicans decided to make one last-ditch effort to surge for repeal and replace. 

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Moderate vs. conservative: What health care bill will come out on top?

The House’s health care bill, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), took some major steps forward over the past several weeks. It passed the House, after the addition of two crucial amendments—the MacArthur Amendment, which allows states to opt out of essential health benefits and community ratings, and the Upton Amendment, which allocates an extra $8 billion to high risk pools—and is now under review in the Senate. The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) recent score of the AHCA was similar to scores of previous iterations of the bill: premiums would rise, the uninsured population would increase, and the deficit would decrease. 

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Breaking down the new CBO score of the AHCA

Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its score of the latest version of the H.R. 1628, American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017. Not surprisingly, the analysis revealed that, compared to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions more Americans will be without insurance, plans will cover less, and rates could increase drastically for those with pre-existing conditions.

Here are the highlights of the new CBO score, as well as a comparison to the CBO scores of previous versions of the bill.  

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The ramifications of Trump’s health care executive order

Today, President Trump signed an executive order intended to loosen regulations currently enforced under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The order specifically directs the Treasury and the Department of Labor to:

  • Expand rules for association health plans, allowing more employers to ban together and purchase healthcare plans, including plans across state lines;
  • Loosen regulations on and make available short-term limited duration insurance that’s not subject to the essential health benefits mandates of the ACA; and
  • Create rules that allow employees to use Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) funds to pay for healthcare premiums

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Current state of health care reform and employer next steps

This week brought a bevy of updates to the Republican Party’s health care reform battle, culminating Monday night in the possible death of the Better Care Reconciliation Act/American Health Care Act and Republicans’ hopes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. However, tonight the bill might be saved in an emergency Republican meeting. Not unexpectedly, this dizzying cascade of continued changes has left employers wondering what to do now.

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