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Policy Update May 8

Monday, May 8, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jinny Palen
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Passage of the AHCA in the House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the twice-amended American Health Care Act Thursday by a margin of four (4) votes, with no Democrats’ support.

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AHCA amendments:

The Upton Amendment added $8 billion to the House bill for high-risk insurance pools for people with pre-existing conditions.

The MacArthur amendment gives states the ability to waive certain pieces of the ACA. Specifically, states could waive:

  • Community rating protections of the ACA; as long as states participate in a federal high-risk pool or create on of their own; and
  • Essential Health Benefit standards for plans sold through exchanges.

It is important to note that waiver process outlined in the amendment provides for “automatic approval” within 90 days if states attest that the waiver’s purpose is to lower premiums, improve coverage levels, or “advance another benefit to the public interest.” This proposal dramatically changes the existing rigorous review of Medicaid waivers submitted by states.

The amended bill keeps provisions of the AHCA of utmost concern to safety net providers:

  • Converting federal Medicaid funding to a per capita or block grant allotment;
  • Sun-setting enhanced federal funding for Medicaid expansion states (such as Minnesota); and
  • Allowing states to require work as a condition of Medicaid eligibility.

The AHCA still has a long way to go, and its fate is very unclear in the U.S. Senate. Senate Republicans are expressing concerns with the bill. The bill does not have a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score yet.

Minnesota’s three GOP U.S. Representatives all voted to pass the AHCA. For more, the link below tracks Politico’s coverage of the AHCA:

MACMHP Legislative Priorities Update
HF 1186 (Rep. Pierson) – Mental Health Practitioner Workforce bill – passed the House last Thursday. MACMHP’s proposal to remove the requirement for a high school diploma for certified peer specialists is alive in both the House and Senate bills and passed the House.

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