March 7, 2017
The American Health Care Act Is Critical First Step Toward Protecting Patients
Washington, DC—The American Health Care Act, the healthcare reconciliation legislation recently released in the U.S. House of Representatives, is a critical first step toward implementing patient-centered solutions and rescuing Americans from the failures of the status quo. As Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., has outlined, there are three phases to the repeal and reform effort, including both legislative and administrative actions.
With Congress considering reconciliation legislation, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continues its work on the next two steps: taking administrative actions that will create a healthier insurance market and alleviate the burden the current healthcare law imposed on Americans, and supporting work on legislation that will include reforms not permitted under reconciliation, such as purchase of insurance across state lines.
Ongoing Administrative Actions
To relieve the burden that the current healthcare law has placed on millions of Americans, HHS has already begun a number of key administrative actions, including:
- Reforms to stabilize insurance markets and increase coverage choices for patients beginning as early as 2018;
- Loosening restrictions on the financial structure of insurance plans offered on the exchanges to allow patients access to lower premium options; and
- Improving choices for patients and putting downward pressure on prices by curbing abuses of the enrollment periods and encouraging full-year enrollment.
Future administrative actions will help provide more options for patients, give states flexibility on how they spend their Medicaid dollars, and ensure a stable transition to any law Congress passes.
Further Congressional Action
In addition to the reconciliation bill, HHS supports legislation to take action on other priorities President Trump has laid out for healthcare, including:
- Increasing competition and choice by promoting the sale of insurance across state lines;
- Removing even more of the current healthcare law’s regulations on insurance;
- Reducing out-of-control drug costs; and
- New legal reforms to cut costs for patients and doctors.
America’s healthcare system should be focused on the patient, by promoting quality, accessibility, affordability, innovation, and empowerment. Secretary Price looks forward to working with Congress to ensure that these principles become a reality for all Americans.