The American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA) is legislation introduced in March 2017 by United States Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The legislation was introduced by Republicans in the House of Representatives and is sometimes referred to in the media as Trumpcare, in contrast to the Affordable Care Act, which is often referred to as Obamacare.
Key components of the American Health Care Act of 2017 include:
- Phasing out of the Affordable Health Care Medicaid expansion and cancellation of the expansion as of January 1, 2020.
- Modification of age-based tax credits for individuals who earn lower than $75,000 per year (or $150,000 for joint filers).
- Retention of coverage availability required for pre-existing conditions and coverage for children under their parent’s insurance until age 26.
- Elimination of ACA tax penalties for individuals who do not have health insurance, as well as employers with 50 or more full-time employees who do not offer health insurance.
- Penalty of one year 30% surcharge by insurers on consumers signing up who had a lapse in coverage, regardless of health status.
- Keeping coverage of essential health benefits like maternity coverage, prescription drugs and mental health care.
According to the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the American Health Care Act of 2017, 14 million people would be uninsured by 2018, with possibly 24 million people uninsured by 2026. Although the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion over ten years, premiums in the individual insurance market would increase before decreasing over time for most Americans, but less so for older, low-income people.
The American Health Care Act of 2017 received criticism from both political parties and was not popular among several healthcare experts across the political spectrum. Liberal opponents claimed it would make insurance less available to all Americans, particularly low-income households with the ending of the Medicaid expansion. Several conservative opponents saw the bill as “Obamacare lite” as it still contained several social benefit mandates from the ACA. Overall, many felt it fell short of President Donald Trump’s election campaign promise of affordable coverage for everyone with health care costs and better care.
Because of waning legislative and political support, the American Health Care Act of 2017 bill was withdrawn from consideration on the floor of the House of Representatives the day after it was originally scheduled for a vote on March 24, 2017. As of this writing, the future of the bill is unclear.