Yesterday, the Republican-backed health care bill that aims to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed through the House of Representatives by a narrow margin of 217-213, setting the stage for consideration in the Senate.
Known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), this bill could have a significant impact within the mental health and addiction recovery treatment industries if passed.
Key Points of the American Health Care Act:
- The AHCA would move Medicaid funding to a capped payment system, providing states with a set dollar amount for beneficiaries.
- The bill would do away with ACA-mandated tax penalties on individuals who choose not to buy coverage
- $130 billion would be devoted to high-risk pools, with the goal of aiding those with serious illnesses to pay high premiums.
- It would grant states the ability to sign a waiver to opt out of essential health benefits
- The bill would retain the ability for individuals to remain on family policies until the age of 26, enacted by the ACA.
Some industry figures believe the bill will have a difficult time making it past the next hurdle. In a Behavioral Healthcare Magazine report, Julius Hobson, former head of Congressional relations for the American Medical Association, said, “the reality is the bill that passed the House has no chance of becoming law because the Senate has made it clear it will not pass that bill as is. They will make substantial changes.”
There is also concern that the ACA repeal, coupled with a AHCA bill provision that allows insurance companies in certain states to disallow mental health and substance abuse, could disrupt critical addiction coverage in the midst of the nation's opioid epidemic.
We will continue reporting on industry developments related to the American Health Care Act as information becomes available.