AHCA Passes House

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 4, 2017. The AHCA will move to the Senate for a vote and possible amendments.

The AHCA needed 216 votes to pass in the House. It passed on a party-line vote, with 217 Republicans and no Democrats voting in favor of the legislation. It needs a simple majority vote in the Senate to pass.

Impact on ACA Provisions

The AHCA would reduce the penalties imposed under the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual and employer mandate provisions to zero beginning in 2016, effectively repealing both mandates.

While individuals would not be required to obtain health insurance, beginning with open enrollment for 2019, the AHCA would allow issuers to add a 30 percent late-enrollment surcharge for applicants that had a lapse in coverage of more than 63 days during the previous 12 months. The surcharge would be discontinued after 12 months.

The AHCA would repeal the ACA’s current subsidies for low-income individuals who purchase coverage through an Exchange. The subsidies would be replaced with portable tax credits in 2020.

The ACA’s rules on essential health benefits and community rating would stay in place, but states could apply for waivers from these provisions.

HSA Enhancements

The AHCA also includes provisions to encourage the use of health savings accounts (HSAs), such as increasing the annual contribution limit.