Healthcare Workers Hail Withdrawal of AHCA

Healthcare workers, providers and advocates hailed a recent move by the House to withdraw the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) last week.

The bill, promoted by Congressional Republicans, would have negative consequences for Massachusetts – threatening healthcare coverage for up to a half a million residents, costing the state billions of dollars and jeopardizing the state’s largest industry and one of its most important economic drivers. Just as concerning, the legislation would have cut Medicaid funding, weakened insurance protections and threatened addiction recovery services.

“The withdrawal of this bill is a recognition of its near universal opposition by healthcare providers, workers and advocates across America and an affirmation of the power of advocacy,” said Tyrék D. Lee Sr., Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the state’s largest and fastest growing healthcare union.

1199SEIU and its partners have been working hard to preserve the gains made possible by the Affordable Care Act – which has given Massachusetts the lowest uninsured rate in the nation. In March, workers participated in an event at the Old South Church in Boston to highlight the damage that repealing the ACA would do to Massachusetts. 1199SEIU joined leaders from the Massachusetts Medical Society, Planned Parenthood, Health Care for All and other organizations to discuss how the ACA improved on Massachusetts’ groundbreaking 2006 healthcare law under Governor Mitt Romney.

Despite the victory, advocates are continuing to fight to protect the ACA and closely monitoring new efforts that may arise in Congress to repeal the law.

“Pulling the bill is a positive step – but we must remain vigilant to ensure that the Commonwealth can protect the major health and economic gains resulting from its pioneering efforts on universal healthcare,” added Lee.

March Madness: American Health Care Act

“I’m just a bill, sitting here on Capitol Hill..” 

Schoolhouse rock Bill

The American Health Care Act of 2017 was pulled before a probable defeat on the floor of the House of Representatives today. Here’s a recap of its journey.

After months of anticipation and secrecy, the American Health Care Act of 2017 plan was released by House Republicans on March 6th consisting of two bills. One bill was introduced into the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the other to the House Ways and Means Committee.  The bills passed both committees the next day on a party-line vote and without a Congressional Budget Report (CBO) cost analysis.  It wasn’t until March 13th that the CBO released its budget estimates. The CBO report is often used as a tool for debate prior to any votes. On March 16th the bill passed the House Budget Committee with a vote of 19-17.  It’s important to note that three Republicans on that committee joined the Democrats in opposition.  The bill, HR 1628, then went to the House Rules Committee which sets the terms for the final debate when the bill comes to the House floor for a vote.  The committee approved a provision that allows for the “same-day” rule (or often referred to as martial law), essentially allowing the bill to be voted on the same day even as it is still having changes made to it before being voted out of committee.

In contrast to the fast movement of the American Health Care Act, the Affordable Care Act during the Obama Administration underwent months of negotiations, markup, and debate before its final passage.   It was introduced by Speaker Pelosi in July of 2009 and passed in the House November 2009 and was ultimately not signed into law by then President Obama until March 23, 2010.

Here’s a visual recap of its journey:

AHCA HR 1628.png