American Healthcare Act Falls Short

You know by now that the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628) was withdrawn from consideration due to lack of support. Speaker Paul Ryan said, “Obamacare is the law of the land for the foreseeable future.” The president has decided not to pursue the issue further. Those of you who were looking forward to the lifting of the heavy yoke of the employer mandate and related reporting dictates are no doubt sorely disappointed.

When you think about it, it is telling that the House passed 54 different repeal bills – yes, 54! – while under a president who would never sign one. Now that they have a president who would gladly sign, they can’t get number 55 done. Speaker Ryan spoke to this singularity citing the ease of being the opposition and simply opposing as contrasted to governing. Those who were ever in combat understand this. Training with blanks and artillery simulators is one thing; but when the boots hit the ground and you have live rounds and realize there are live rounds coming at you, your perspective changes vividly.

What happened? It appears that some moderate conservatives were concerned about the Medicaid cuts and the numbers that would lose coverage; and concerned that there was no hard evidence that premium costs under AHCA would actually come down. The conservative camp wanted the essential benefits package of PPACA repealed arguing that Senate parliamentarians advised this could be done under reconciliation which would require no Democrat support in the Senate. The administration disagreed with that conclusion and refused to consider eliminating things like pre-existing conditions, maternity care, the prohibition on benefit limits, etc. On Thursday evening, the president called a halt to further negotiation and requested a vote. But Friday afternoon it was determined that they were shy of the votes necessary for passage.

Yet we are still left with a conundrum. The reality is that those who secure coverage through the marketplace exchanges are in jeopardy. The math is undeniable. For carriers, out-go exceeds revenues. Many carriers have withdrawn and premiums have spiked. We can only hope that after the smoke clears, a bipartisan effort can be made in Congress to address this irrevocable death spiral.

Not everyone is an expert on health care reform. But the folks at J. Smith Lanier, one of our endorsed services providers, are. For this reason they created a publication called the Health Care Reform Alert. J. Smith Lanier has been providing these to its clients since 2010 when the bill was passed and now offers it to the members of ABA. It is J. Smith Lanier’s intention in the alerts to take the many pages generated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Labor or Treasury and filter them down into terms that all can understand. For more information on how J. Smith Lanier can help your bank, contact Tom Younger at (256) 890-9027.