Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2017 2:53 PM
On Thursday, May 4, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 217 to 213 against. Although the AHCA passed, there is still some things that need to be done before it becomes law.
NAHC is relieved that this version of the AHCA is not final since it does contain components that they do not wish to see become law.
On March 15, 2017, NAHC sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to state their concern for the AHCA and how it doesn’t make access to home health care a priority.
“For example, the bill eliminates an important Medicaid option, the Community First Choice benefit, which encourages states to shift spending to cost-effective home care” despite the fact that numerous states have embraced that new benefit. “Still, the failure of some states to offer a robust home care option is evident even with the financial incentives under the Community First Choice program. The current per capita caps formula will be a roadblock to the expansion of access to home care in Medicaid. The elimination of the Community First Choice program is, as well.”
Furthermore, the letter also included that even though most states offer hospice services to their Medicaid populations, this is still optional and “absent any requirement that states offer a meaningful end-of-life benefit, imposition of caps or other limits on funding for Medicaid services will create tremendous pressure on states, and will place existing coverage of hospice care at serious risk.”
However, NAHC’s concerns were never addressed.
NAHC also signed on to a letter to Reps. Ryan and Pelosi to express disapproval to provisions of the AHCA.
The AHCA would have:
• Repealed the ACA payroll tax increase on wealthy Americans
• Reduced Medicare Hospital Insurance (Part A) Trust Fund revenues by $117 billion between 2017 and 2026
• Resulted in the Trust Fund’s insolvency by 2024
• Resulted in 64% of the tax windfall from the repeal of the payroll tax would go to individuals earning more than $1 million
NAHC continues to oppose any tax cut that could affect the future of the Medicare program.
According to calculations from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), AHCA changes to Medicaid would cut $880 billion in federal funding over the next ten years, leading to 14 million Americans losing their health insurance.
Home and community-based long-term services aren’t covered by Medicare, resulting in it being unaffordable for low-income elderly and people with disabilities.
NAHC is concerned that home and community-based services will be affected by cuts since those services are optional, whereas nursing home coverage is mandatory.
NAHC doesn’t support the AHCA in its current form.
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