Senate releases health care reform bill
Erin Mahn Zumbrun
The Senate released their version of the House passed American Health Care Act entitled the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. The text of the bill can be found here.
While the bill appears to have some changes from the House version, the bill maintains some of the provisions that led to NRHA's opposition. NRHA is disappointed that the bill includes deep Medicaid cuts that change the program from an open-ended federal commitment to a capped federal payment that limits federal spending, leaving either states, patients, or providers to struggle with the loss of funds.
The Medicaid expansion is also eliminated, being phased out over a four-year period from 2020 to 2024. Tax credits to assist individuals in purchasing insurance remain but are substantially reduced, likely leading to many more individuals unable to afford health insurance. The bill also repeals billions of taxes included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to pay for the coverage expansion, as well as eliminating the individual and employer mandates.
While the goals of the ACA were laudable, the legislation failed in part to provide for the needs of health care in rural America. The Senate needs to make health care reform work in rural America.
Stay tuned for NRHA's detailed analysis coming soon.