What We're Reading: Voting on AHCA; High-Risk Pools; Altering Medicaid Expansion Programs

Republicans Have the Votes on AHCA

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) will go to the House floor for a vote today with Republican leaders confident they have the numbers to pass the legislation. According to The New York Times, the bill, which repeals and replaces parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was amended to add more money to it, which helped some holdouts switch from a “no” vote to a “yes.” Meanwhile in California, the CEO of Blue Shield of California, which covers more than 4 million lives, critiqued AHCA and the fact that some Americans with preexisting conditions could be locked out of affordable care if they live in a state that obtains a waiver.

Funding High-Risk Pools

The latest amendment to AHCA provides additional funds for high-risk pools, which cover people with costly healthcare issues. The Wall Street Journal provided an overview of what high-risk pools are and what they are supposed to do. The $8 billion fund in AHCA would be spread out over 5 years and accessible to states that waive the prohibition on charging more to people with preexisting conditions. High-risk pools were common before the ACA, but were inadequately funded, which means they didn’t work well in the past.

Louisiana and Arkansas Eye Medicaid Expansion Changes

Louisiana is jumping on the opportunity provided by the Trump administration to be more flexible with Medicaid programs. Lawmakers are considering adding a work requirement to the program amid concerns about enrollment growth and future costs, reported The Advocate. In Arkansas, lawmakers voted to scale back the state’s Medicaid plan. The state had the first hybrid Medicaid expansion that used Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance. The AP reported that the state’s new plan would remove 60,000 people off the program and add work requirements.