The GOP’s bumpy road towards an attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has hit yet another pothole. On the day that a new, revised version of the American Health Care Act, widely derided by Democrats, debuted, two GOP senators have unveiled a rival policy that would scrap the AHCA entirely in favor of a different model. So what’s going on? And what does it mean for you?
First, an outline of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s revision to the AHCA leaked this morning. The revisions soften the bill slightly, but only slightly, by retaining some of the taxes from the original ACA. It also adds $70 billion to help pay for high-risk plans, $45 billion to fight the opioid epidemic, and allows people to use health savings accounts, or HSAs, to pay for premiums. Still, these are relative pittances compared to projected need, and it seems unlikely this will solve the plan’s problems either politically or in terms of people thrown off health insurance. Most notably, it includes Ted Cruz’s “skimpy” option, which would allow any insurer to move those plans, provided it sold at least one robust plan in a market as well. It’s telling that the insurance industry is ardently opposed to Cruz’s idea.
The idea was to bring on board Republicans opposed to the bill, but it doesn’t seem to have worked. Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, the Republican most visibly opposed to the bill, remains a “no.”