Despite the two-week Congressional recess, negotiations over the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have continued. During the break, Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) worked to develop an amendment to the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act (AHCA) that seeks compromise between conservative and moderate demands. Rep. MacArthur sought input from House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and the White House. The MacArthur amendment would reinstate essential benefits as the federal standard and would retain the ACA’s pre-existing conditions provision, as well as the provision allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26. However, the amendment would offer the option for states to obtain limited waivers to opt out of providing essential benefits and guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing conditions as long as the state establishes or participates in a federal high-risk pool. States that obtain waivers also would have to prove that doing so will lower the cost of premiums and expand coverage.
President Trump is pressing for a House vote next week, but nothing has been scheduled at this time, and other members have not yet reached agreement on the amendment. It is also important to remember that funding for the federal government expires next Friday, and Congress must act quickly to avoid a government shutdown. We will keep you updated.