ACA Repeal Stalls

March31, 2017

Last week, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) pulled the American Health Care Act (AHCA) from consideration, dealing a grave blow to the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Ryan was forced to withdraw the AHCA once it became clear the vast majority of the House’s Freedom Caucus’ 29 members could not be dislodged from their opposition to the bill; their obstinacy ensured the Republicans could not secure a basic majority to advance the bill.

This week has seen multiple storylines about the Republicans’ plans for healthcare reform. As reported by The Washington Post, Ryan told donors to his Team Ryan political organization that Republicans would continue to work on the “health-care problem” while pursuing the rest of their agenda.

Meanwhile, during a news conference last Friday, President Donald Trump decried the Democrats for not giving the bill “a single vote” and stated that, “[T]he best thing we can do, politically speaking, is let Obamacare explode. Bad things are going to happen to Obamacare. There’s not much you can do to help it.”

On Tuesday, Trump told a bipartisan group of senators that he expected lawmakers would be able to reach a deal on healthcare, though he did not provide specifics on how they would do it or what had changed since Friday.

As the Republicans now shift their focus from healthcare to tax reform, they are realizing it is easy to be united as an opposition party, but there are growing pains to become a governing party, as individual lawmakers have their own preferences about how to address issues and want to please their own constituencies and interest groups. 

Expect healthcare changes to now occur mostly at the regulatory level, as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will probably be making changes to the exchanges and Medicaid in the coming months.

Health Policy Weekly is written by Xcenda, a consultancy and business unit of AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group. Visit Xcenda’s online archive to access more health policy news.

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