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Medicare 101

The American Health Care Act (AHCA)

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published January 20, 2022 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

The American Health Care Act (AHCA), also known as “Trumpcare,” is the health care bill proposed by Republican members of the House of Representatives as a replacement for the current health care law — The Affordable Care Act (ACA) — commonly known as "Obamacare."

American Health Care Act AHCA

The AHCA Becoming Law

The AHCA was originally scheduled to be voted on in the House of Representatives in March, but was pulled from the agenda at the last minute after GOP leaders feared the bill would not receive the votes it needed to pass.

Revisions were made to the bill in an effort to garner more support from conservatives, and it was finally put before the House on May 4. The AHCA passed with 217 votes on a party-line vote. No Democrats supported the bill.

After moving through the House, the AHCA was handed off to the Senate, where it will also need to pass a vote before being signed into law. However, Senate Republicans are in favor of drafting their own version of the bill.

There is no deadline or expected timeline for when the new version of the health care bill may be finalized. If the Senate passes its version of the bill, it would then need the consent of the House before heading to the president's desk.

Key Provisions of Trumpcare

If enacted, the AHCA would make some significant changes to current health care law. The three most significant changes could be:

  1. No more coverage requirement
    Currently, everyone under the age of 65 must have insurance or else pay a penalty. But the AHCA would eliminate that mandate. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that this provision, among others in the legislation, could contribute to as many as 24 million more Americans not having insurance coverage.

  2. Potentially higher premiums for people with preexisting conditions
    The AHCA could lead to higher premiums for people with preexisting conditions if they do not maintain continuous health care coverage (defined as not having a gap in coverage more than 63 days). There would be, however, stipulations and requirements a state would have to meet in order to do so.

  3. Elimination of federal essential benefits requirement
    Current law states that insurance companies must provide coverage for a set of “essential benefits,” but the AHCA would allow states to opt out of those federal standards and draft their own set of essential benefits.

Time will tell if the legislation will be passed. It's unknown at this point when a vote in the Senate could take place.

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