For the first time in the new Congress, House Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — something they have done dozens of times in previous years.
The House vote last week was 239-186, generally along party lines, with no Democrats supporting repeal. But Republican lawmakers have long struggled to reach consensus among themselves over a replacement for the ACA.
The new bill calls on four committees to report legislation to the House to replace the ACA while accomplishing a long list of ambitious goals and benefits, some of which overlap with popular features of the current law — such as ensuring coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
The House bill also includes promises of lower premiums, more patient choice, the ability to keep current health plans, and an increase in the number of insured Americans. Yet the legislation also encourages higher out-of-pocket health care spending, and rules out increased taxes and insurance mandates or regulations, raising questions about how its promises could be achieved or responsibly financed.
It should be remembered that the ACA’s unpopular elements were needed to make the more popular elements possible. Politicians should resist the temptation to promise that the popular features can be continued at little or no cost.
Statement by Rep. Bradley Byrne on House Vote
White House Response to House Repeal Vote
Republican Ideas on Replacing ACA (Washington Post)
Beyond ‘Repeal and Replace,’ Ideas Emerge to Improve ACA (Kaiser Health News)