On March 06, 2017, the United States House of Representatives released the American Healthcare Act, a bill to repeal and partly replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The legislation repeals most ACA taxes starting Jan. 1, 2018, including the so-called “Cadillac tax” on expensive employer sponsored plans. The tax would be reinstated after 10 years, though, to comply with Senate budget rules.
The bill aims to shift Medicaid from an open-ended entitlement system to imposing block grants, or per-capita caps on states that expanded Medicaid under ACA, based on 2016 reimbursement levels. Non-expansion states would have access to a Medicaid safety supplemental, which consists of a total of $10 billion over five years.
Lawmakers said they are preserving three popular ACA provisions: the one prohibiting insurers from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, the ban on lifetime coverage caps, and the rule allowing young people to remain on their parents’ health plans until age 26.
Though the legislation will likely face significant opposition, not only from Democrats who want to preserve the ACA, but also from some Republicans who are opposed to certain provisions, the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees will mark up the bill without scores from the Congressional Budget Office on March 8.
ASCO is still carefully reviewing the legislation and will provide additional details and guidance on the bill’s potential impact on oncology care as they become available. The society is ready to work with Congress and the Administration so that any healthcare reform proposals align with ASCO’s principles for patient-centered healthcare reform, in order to meet the needs of patients facing a cancer diagnosis.
Stay tuned to ASCO in Action as for all the latest cancer policy and healthcare reform news.