Year in Review: A 2017 Health Care Timeline
It’s been a busy year for health care – and there are still a few weeks left in 2017. Below is a summary of some of the events that have impacted individuals and small businesses this year (or could affect them next year) when it comes to health care and health insurance.
March 7, 2017
AHCA Introduced in House of Representatives
Republicans introduced the American Health Care Act (AHCA), H.R. 1628, in the U.S. House of Representatives.
March 12, 2017
CBO Releases Analysis
The Congressional Budget Office projects 52 million Americans would be left uninsured under the AHCA. The agency also forecasts higher insurance premiums through 2020, with rates expected to fall thereafter.
Committee Votes Bill to the Floor
The House Budget Committee votes 19 to 17 to send the AHCA to the Floor of the House of Representatives.
March 24, 2017
House Fails to Hold Vote
After considerable debate and multiple postponements, the AHCA is pulled from the House floor. Moderate Republicans refused to support the bill after introduction of a Manager’s Amendment.
April 20, 2017
New Bill Leaked
The Huffington Post publishes an article about a new, unreleased version of the AHCA designed to appeal to the House Freedom Caucus. Politico later publishes a leaked version of the bill. The latter version includes state waivers for some ACA key provisions.
April 24, 2017
Representative Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) offers an amendment aimed at House Freedom Caucus, which was holding out for more extensive repeal of the ACA. The amendment allows states to charge consumers more based on age or pre-existing conditions, or to eliminate essential health benefits requirements.
House Passes AHCA
In a narrow 217 to 213 vote, the House passes the AHCA with all new amendments incorporated.
May 4, 2017
Senate Writes Its Own Bill
Within hours after the House passes the AHCA, Republican Senators stated they would draft their own version of an ACA repeal and replace bill.
Senate Bill Sent to CBO
The Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BRCA) is sent to the Congressional Budget Office. Reportedly some of the 13-members of the working group had not seen the draft, and both Republicans and Democrats expressed displeasure at being left out of the process.
After working on a Senate bill for weeks, Republicans released the BRCA on June 22nd; within hours, several prominent Republican Senators speak out against the bill.
CBO Analysis Released
The Congressional Budget Office releases its scoring of the Senate bill. It estimates 15 million more people will be left uninsured by 2018 (as compared to the ACA). By 2026, the uninsured number is projected to increase to 22 million.
Senate Delays BCRA Vote
The Senate postpones a vote on the BRCA until after the July 4th recess.
July 13, 2017
The Senate revises its proposed legislation to incorporate the Cruz Amendment, which would allow insurers to offer minimal coverage that does not comply with the ACA, so long as the insurer also makes available at least one ACA Gold plan, one Silver plan, and one Bronze plan.
July 17, 2017
Vote Postponed on BCRA
With four Republican Senators [Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)] voicing their opposition to the BCRA, Republicans postpone the BCRA vote.
July 18, 2017
“Repeal Only” Collapses
Senate introduces a “repeal only” bill, which Senators Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) oppose, effectively killing the plan.
July 20, 2017
Updated BCRA Sent to CBO
An updated BCRA is sent to the Congressional Budget Office. It incorporates the July 13th Amendment without the Cruz provisions and minor changes in the Medicaid section.
CBO projects BRCA will reduce cumulative federal deficit, but the number of uninsured Americans will increase by 15 million by 2018 and 19 million by 2020. The CBO forecasts 21 million more people would be left uninsured by 2026, as compared to ACA.
July 26-27, 2017
Series of Senate Votes Begins
Senators introduce and vote down a number of amendments and bills, including the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA), which would repeal most provisions of the ACA without replacement.
Republican leadership announces the Health Care Freedom Act (HCFA), a so-called “skinny bill” that would repeal the individual mandate retroactive to 2016. It would also repeal the employer mandate through 2025.
The HCFA fails to pass in the Senate. Senators Susan Collins, John McCain, and Lisa Murkowski are the only Republicans voting against the bill alongside all Democrat Senators.
August 2, 2017
Bipartisan Efforts Regain Steam
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) releases a statement saying the Senate Health Committee will hold bipartisan hearings related to stabilizing the individual market.
September 22, 2017
Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) introduce a new measure to overhaul the ACA. Soon after the association representing state Medicaid directors nationwide issues a statement opposing the measure. On Sept. 25, Susan Collins announces her opposition, joining three other Republican senators (McCain, Paul, and Cruz). The Senate delays action on a vote.
Trump Executive Orders
President Trump takes action to undermine the ACA through Executive Order. The first order signed on October 6 expands employer and insurer rights to avoid the ACA requirement to cover birth control as part of the ACA’s preventive care benefits.
The October 12 executive order asks government agencies to implement rules to permit new association health plans and expand the coverage period for short-term health plans – both with reduced benefit requirements than current ACA plans.
Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) announce a mid-October deal to fund cost-sharing reduction payments for two years, following President Trump’s announcement the payments to insurers will be cut.
Public Support Increases
A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll taken October 14-23 finds 62 percent of Americans want the Affordable Care Act to be maintained – up from 54 percent in a January poll.
Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP) began October 15 and continues through December 7 for individuals who want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or standalone Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) plan.
November 1, 2017
ACA Open Enrollment
Open enrollment for 2018 begins (and continues through mid-December nationally; in California, it continues through 1/31/2018). With reduced funding for outreach, it’s expected 2018 enrollment will be lower – perhaps as much as 25% lower than 2017.
November 14, 2017
GOP introduces amendment to tax reform legislation to repeal the ACA individual mandate. Congress takes Thanksgiving recess without a full vote on the tax bill.
Watch our site for more news about efforts to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act in the waning days of 2017 and throughout 2018.