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ACA Watch 2017: Next Steps for Healthcare Reform

The passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) begins a new chapter in health care reform. Seven years ago, we thought it unimaginable that we would change the health care and health insurance delivery systems. The arrival of Affordable Care Act (ACA) drove us to a new health care environment. Change is never smooth and never results in the linear path we envision, there are many hills and valleys, and twists and turns along the way.

We now face a potential new chapter in the journey. I anticipate this path to be just as complex as we move to the next evolution of health care in our country. The road ahead is long—and while the House passed the AHCA bill late last week, it is not law and has no imminent impact.

From here, the bill will be scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to determine the impact the most current provisions of the bill have on the federal budget. This is an important point in the process that will help Senators understand what they’ll need to modify to meet the country’s budgetary constraints.

Once the CBO’s score is in, Elizabeth MacDonough, the Parliamentarian of the United States Senate, will scour the bill to determine whether or not each provision meets the rules for inclusion in a budget reconciliation act. Each provision must affect the federal budget, i.e. revenue, expense or debt limit, to be eligible for inclusion in this type of bill. If it does not meet the requirements, that provision will be stricken. We’ve updated our legislative timeline to help you keep pace with the upcoming steps in the process.

The Senate is indicating they will focus on drafting the “right health care bill” that may modify and build on the AHCA or will draft something completely new. In any case, they are not in a hurry and confirm that this is not a matter to be taken lightly and will take the time necessary to “get it right.”

As always, we will keep you posted on the events as they unfold. Be sure to bookmark our ACA Watch 2017 page; we are updating daily on news and insights and what it all means for your organization.