GOP leaders tweak healthcare bill ahead of House vote

On Monday night, House Republicans revealed changes to the American Health Care Act.

In a bid to win more support for their healthcare bill before a crucial vote in the House, Republican leaders revealed a set of changes to the American Health Care Act on Monday night.

One amendment makes only technical revisions to the AHCA to comply with Senate rules that govern budget reconciliation bills, House Speaker Paul Ryan said. The second amendment—drafted by the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees—makes substantive changes to the bill.

“The American Health Care Act is the result of a long, member-driven process, and these improvements are an extension of that inclusive approach,” Ryan said.

Here’s a sampling of the main policy changes the amendment makes to the original bill:

  • Moves the repeal date of Affordable Care Act taxes from 2018 to 2017
  • Delays the implementation of the Cadillac tax from 2025 to 2026
  • Strikes a provision allowing consumers to deposit excess tax credits into health savings accounts
  • Provides “budgetary space” for the Senate to increase tax credits for older Americans, who will likely face higher premiums under the AHCA’s change to the ACA’s rate-banding rule that lets insurers charge them up to five times as much as younger enrollees
  • Prohibits states from expanding their Medicaid programs before the expansion is phased out in 2020
  • Allows states to opt in to a traditional Medicaid block grant funding structure
  • Lets states implement work requirements for certain Medicaid beneficiaries

The changes to the AHCA come as President Donald Trump is making a last-ditch effort to drum up support for the ACA repeal and replacement legislation. Speaking at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday, Trump mentioned one lawmaker who has been a vocal opponent of the bill—Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul—saying he looks forward to working with him “to get this bill passed in some form” so that work on tax reform can begin.

“This is our long-awaited chance to finally get rid of Obamacare,” he said.