Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Changes to American Healthcare Act Designed to Entice the Right and Left Wings of the GOP

Republicans in the House of Representatives have proposed a handful of changes to the American Healthcare Act in an attempt to woo a few of the more liberal and conservative members of the GOP.  The House plans to vote on the full bill on Thursday.  Here is a quick summary of the enticements offered to placate the party's edge members: 
  1. About $85 billion more allocated to lower income and older Americans to use as tax credits in purchasing healthcare.  The House will charge the Senate with actually delineating how these credits are to be doled out.  But the change was an olive branch to moderates who felt that seniors and low income folks were going to have to pay too much for their own healthcare.  
  2. An option for states to choose between the per-person funding Medicaid caps and the more traditionally proposed per state block grants
  3. States now will have the freedom to place work requirements on non-disabled adults who get free healthcare via Medicaid.  Any state instituting this change will receive 5% more financial support from the federal government. 
  4. All Obamacare taxes (other than the "Cadillac Tax") will be repealed in 2017 instead of 2018.  
  5. Excess tax credits that were not used in purchasing healthcare, can now not be rolled over into Health Savings Accounts as was proposed in the original legislation.  And,
  6. An alteration in the Medicaid reimbursement rates for the elderly and disabled alleviating a concern some governors had about cuts to reimbursements for those categories of beneficiaries.