House Panel Clears Healthcare Bill in Predawn Vote

The current bill faces opposition from groups as varied as the American Medical Association and the AARP.

The House Ways and Means Committee took a party line vote hours before dawn Thursday to advance the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would repeal and replace portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), even though there is no formal estimate of what the bill will cost or how many people might lose coverage.

By Thursday afternoon, the House Energy and Commerce committee had cleared the bill after more than 27 hours of debate, also along partisan lines with a 31-23 vote.

The AHCA contains measures to convert Medicaid to a per capita grant system managed by the states, shift the ACA’s premium subsidies to a tax credit system that would vary by age, not income, and repeal nearly all of the ACA’s taxes that paid for the law.

According to The Hill, the markup in Ways and Means lasted more than 16 hours and the vote came after 4 AM, before the bill was approved 23-16. The AHCA faces stiff opposition from groups as varied as the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, and the AARP. In addition, at least 4 Republican senators say they cannot support it in its current form. Some GOP governors in states that have expanded Medicaid under the ACA have voiced objections to doing away with that provision, which has extended coverage to 12 million working poor who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty line.

Under the ACA, 31 states have expanded Medicaid, including 16 with Republican governors.

The committee voted without an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, known as a CBO score, which is a highly irregular step on a bill of this scope. It is anticipated that a CBO score will be available at some point, at least before the bill goes through the House Budget Committee.

President Donald Trump supports the House Republican bill.