As President Trump reaches his hundredth day in office, his goal of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has stumbled once again, with Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republican leadership unable to find the necessary votes to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and move debate to the Senate.
As we wrote yesterday, despite newfound support from the House Freedom Caucus, moderate House Republicans are still opposed to the AHCA, in part due to the inclusion of an amendment that would allow states to opt out of programs that provide Essential Health Benefits and maintain Community Rating Provisions. The ANA continues to oppose the AHCA due to serious concerns that the bill would violate key organizational principles and harm both nurses and patients alike.
Resolved to continue
House and Senate leadership were able to temporarily avert a government shutdown, passing a one-week spending measure on Friday that maintains current spending levels and gives lawmakers additional time to negotiate a longer-term package that will fund the government through September 30th. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi had previously stated that her caucus would not vote for such an agreement if Speaker Ryan and the White House held a vote on the AHCA this week.
100 Days In
While the President has signed a number of executive orders and legislation in his first 100 days that repeal actions taken toward the end of President Obama’s second term, the White House has been consistently stymied by a Congress that seems unwilling to embrace its broader legislative agenda, despite Republican control of both chambers.
The President’s biggest victory is arguably the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was approved by the Senate earlier this month to fill the seat that was vacated following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Despite a limited number of achievements, polling consistently shows that the President’s conservative supporters continue to approve of his job performance and are optimistic he’ll be able to fulfill his campaign promises.
House Republicans stashed a confidential draft health reform bill behind closed doors late last week. The secret legislation was made available solely to House Majority Members in a ‘viewing room’ in the Capitol, where no copies were allowed out.
Health care reform is too important to do behind closed doors. ANA is calling on Congress to commit to a thoughtful, public process for any proposed changes to the current health care law. Anything short is unacceptable.
What’s Next: ANA picked up intel over the weekend that the legislation will, finally, be made public tonight and tomorrow morning. House Democrats as well as the general public will have just 36 hours to review the far-reaching legislation before both the House Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce Committees begin considering the bill.
A reform effort of this magnitude traditionally demand public hearings, including testimony from patients, providers, and health systems, as well as from the typical cast of non-partisan entities like the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) or the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
ANA is strongly urging Congress to carefully consider any legislative proposal that would fundamentally alter healthcare delivery for providers, as well as patients. Stay tuned for a grassroots alert from RnAction that will help you quickly tell your Members of Congress that their lack of transparency is unacceptable.
Congress is discussing the future of the Affordable Care Act – and the conversation in Washington right now could lead to a repeal without any plan for replacement, leaving care for your patients up in the air.
Nurses along with other health care providers, patients and advocates are speaking out against this plan – or lack thereof – and are calling for solutions that protect the most critical components of the law, including access to coverage.
Repealing without any replacement is simply irresponsible. The majority of Americans support the critical parts of the ACA – like protections for pre–existing conditions, retaining coverage for adult children, and increasing access to preventative services – all of which would be wiped away without a plan in place.
You know what your patients need. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan don’t. It’s as simple as that.