Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House to consider legislation on repeal and replacement of Affordable Care Act

Last week, the House of Representatives introduced the American Health Care Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 277), which seeks to repeal and replace current health care law implemented by the Obama administration—the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010.

The House’s plan, if implemented, would repeal most provisions of the ACA, such as the individual mandate, and would retain others, such as covering pre-existing conditions and allowing children to remain on their parents’ plans until age 27.

The American Health Care Act is being billed as making gradual changes to programs, such as expansion of federal Medicaid coverage to low-income Americans. The bill also calls for dismantling subsidies that help individuals purchase private health insurance coverage, and it could allow companies to charge individuals 30 percent more if a lapse in coverage has occurred.

If passed, the bill would provide tax breaks to the medical industry and—perhaps most controversially—would defund Planned Parenthood. In addition, it is expected that 14 million more Americans could be without health insurance next year if H.R. 277 is enacted, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that the number of uninsured would grow by nearly 24 million over the next 10 years.

During contentious committee hearings this week, both the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee spent more than 20 hours debating the semantics of the bill before moving it along to the Budget Committee, which advanced the bill this week.

The measure is expected to hit the House floor next week after a review by the House Committee on Rules, which is expected to make changes to the bill.

One thing remains clear: Moderates and conservatives continue to show concern over the measure, and there will certainly be contentious debate when H.R. 277 hits the House floor.

Letter carriers can expect members of Congress to be preoccupied with this issue for the next week or so until a deal can be reached to pass the bill out of the House.

Return to Legislative Updates

NALC MEMBER APP

The free NALC Member App for iPhones and Android smartphones provides convenient access to information about issues affecting active and retired letter carriers and USPS, plus customizable push notification alerts.

Click to download