Administrator for the Department of Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma said Tuesday that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is “outdated,” and that policymakers and consumers should focus on the Senate bill slated for release in the coming weeks.
Verma believes that the Senate version will be a better litmus test for the future of the Republican repeal agenda, as the CBO and private think tanks will have to score the new bill. “What’s more important is what the Senate comes up with and looking at that and the estimates for that,” Verma told reporters. “Really the House version is something that is outdated at this point.”
House Republicans passed the AHCA in early May, after an initial push was derailed just hours before it was scheduled for a vote on the House floor in March.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected in March that 24 million Americans would lose health insurance if Congress passed the AHCA, with a large portion of the loss stemming from Medicaid consumers. The CBO estimated that the AHCA would cut $839 billion from Medicaid over the next decade. (RELATED: GOP Senators Can’t Agree On Medicaid Reform)
Even if the Senate is able to pass some version of health care reform that sits well with industry groups, the House and Senate must pass the same bill before it makes its way to President Donald Trump’s desk for approval. Facing unanimous opposition from Democrats and a divide among moderate and conservative Republicans, repealing and replacing Obamacare will continue to be a formidable challenge for lawmakers.
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