Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Senate Continues Work on Repeal and Replace

Drew Thies

Senate Republicans are working to find a compromise on a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was forced last week to delay a vote on the “Better Care Reconciliation Act,” the chamber’s first draft of replacement legislation.

Republican leadership faces a tight deadline. Both the House and Senate are out of session for the Fourth of July work week and return for only three legislative weeks before the month-long August recess.

Several Republican senators expressed concerns with the discussion draft; some conservative members said they wanted to see it do more to repeal the Affordable Care Act, while others were concerned the policy went too far in cutting Medicaid and other health care services.

The Senate bill differs significantly from the House bill on the issue of Medicaid funding for long term care services. The Senate bill both changes the per-capita growth rate for aged and disabled population, and reduces provider taxes. The changes to the bill are estimated to cut federal Medicaid funding by 20 percent in 2025 and cut an average of $100,000 per building in states that use the provider tax program.

AHCA/NCAL advocates are still encouraged to call their senators and let them know that this bill would be harmful to the long term care profession. AHCA/NCAL has an online advocacy portal and encourages all members to continue to contact lawmakers.

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