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AHCA Conversation Continues with New Amendment Offered

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AHCA Conversation Continues with New Amendment Offered

April 24, 2017
On April 20, new amendments, called "the MacArthur amendment", as they were proposed by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), surfaced to revive the conversation on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Affordable Care Act (ACA) bill that failed to gain sufficient support in the House to pass last month. The amendment would permit states to obtain limited waivers from essential health benefits (EHBs) and community rating rules. Community rating rules currently restrict insurers from setting different premium rates based on categories such as age, gender, and preexisting conditions. Under the MacArthur amendment, community rating rules could be waived for individuals with preexisting conditions if the state has established a high risk pool or participates in a federal high risk pool. 
 
Republican leadership has been unclear on whether the amendment will successfully revive the AHCA and whether it will be scheduled for a vote this week. Earlier last week, hints were dropped that a vote could happen mid-week this week. By the end of the week, however, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) downplayed the possibility of a vote, according to participants on a members-only conference call over the weekend. House GOP leaders indicated that the priority for the week must be to avoid a government shutdown, which will require some Democratic support.