Budget Resolution Bill Approved by Senate and House
January 2017 ~
Following a 51 to 48 vote in the Senate, House members on January 13 voted 227 to 198 to advance repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a budget resolution bill. Committees have been given until January 27 to draft reconciliation bills to be consideration by the House and Senate.
In response, Senators Dr. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Susan Collins of Maine have introduced a bill that could serve as an alternative to the ACA.
The Senators state their bill, named The Patient Freedom Act, would provide flexibility which would allow states to maintain policies enacted by the ACA or to implement state-based alternatives with funding equal to 95% of federal subsidies that would have been available through the ACA.
The proposal would keep guaranteed issue and guaranteed renewability requirements, as well as prohibitions on annual and lifetime limits and exclusions for pre-existing conditions. As well, the Senators say the bill would repeal the individual and employer mandates at the federal level, as well as actuarial value requirements and age ban requirements.
States opting out of the ACA will have the option to receive federal funds in the form of per beneficiary grants or opt for refundable tax credits. With both options, the funds would be delivered directly to patients through a health savings account. States could also opt to establish high-deductible health plans to protect against unforeseen medical expenses for patients who would otherwise be uncovered.
Collins and Cassidy say their bill offers more power and choice to states by allowing them to keep ACA coverage or to switch to a default option involving a health savings account plan, as well as promotes price transparency so consumers can make decisions knowing in advance the cost of their care, and the least expensive option.
Source(s): HealthcareFinance News; American Health Line; AP/Modern Healthcare; Modern Healthcare; MedPage Today; HealthcareDIVE; HealthcareFinance News;