Just weeks after the American Health Care Act was pulled from the floor of the House and Speaker Paul Ryan glumly declared Obamacare would continue for the foreseeable future, a revived and amended version of the bill has passed the House.
Here’s a quick refresher on some details of the AHCA in its first incarnation.
Despite a concentrated push from the White House, this version of the bill failed in part due to obstinacy by the House Freedom Caucus — the hard right-wing contingent of the House GOP — which wanted the AHCA to go even further to the right and repeal more of the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections. As it stood, that version of the bill was just not committed enough to their political project of turning the America of today into the America from “RoboCop.”
Several negotiations later, the bill has been contorted to appease the hardliners. The MacArthur-Meadows Amendment will allow states to opt out of the federal government’s requirements that insurance plans
1) Provide for certain essential health benefits, and
2) Don’t charge people more if they have pre-existing conditions.
To appease the less extreme wing of the party, the Upton-Long Amendment purports to set aside money for Americans with pre-existing conditions, but the amount is grotesquely inadequate. The self-proclaimed moderate Republicans still voted for it because it helped them achieve their political project of sucking.
Oh, and despite past assurances from Trump himself that nobody’s touchin’ Medicaid on his watch, the AHCA cuts $880 billion from it, decimating the program. Meanwhile, wealthy Americans would receive tax cuts.
In its rush to push the legislation through, the House held a vote before many of its members actually read the thing. GOP leaders didn’t even give the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) time to release a study on its effects. You know, the sorts of things you do when a bill is really good.
While nobody can give hard figures on what the AHCA will do in its current form, during the last go-around back in March, the CBO estimated that approximately 24 million people would lose their insurance should it become law. For some perspective on just what that means, the Washington Post reports that when 20 million people lose their insurance, over 43,000 of them die per year.
We hope everyone who voted for the AHCA enjoyed their day as much as they’ll enjoy their next town hall.
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that House Republicans celebrated the AHCA’s passage in the House with Bud Light. This has turned out to be false. We apologize for the error.