Affordable Care ActAfter the stunning Republican defeat of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the
end of July, yes, we did it again. It’s Groundhog Day because events keep repeating, the ACA repeal vote keeps coming back up and we keep beating it back and winning!

As of earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not going to have a vote on the repeal of the ACA this month. Congress will be going back to bipartisan talks on health reform but will miss the deadline of September 30, 2017, which would have included healthcare provisions in Congress’ 2017 budget. Now Congress has to start from the beginning with discussions on health reform for the new budget cycle for 2018 which starts in October.

United Spinal supports bipartisan health reform discussions that were being led in the U.S Senate’s Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee by Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and by Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) in the Senate Finance Committee looking at market stabilization.

United Spinal supports some similar efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives. A bipartisan group in the House called the Problem Solvers Caucus, consisting of 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans, is also strategizing on potential health care proposals such as repealing the medical device tax; changing the employer mandate to apply to companies with more than 500 employees instead of 50 employees; looking at cost-sharing reductions and other ways to stabilize the insurance marketplace. Democrat proposals include looking at cost-sharing reduction payments (a discount that lowers the amount you have to pay for deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance), lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and strengthening consumer protections to ensure premium increases are stabilized and allowing people ages 50-64 to buy into Medicare.

Staffers from both the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) also have some proposals. The CPC is looking at additional options for public health care access to address counties losing insurers and the CBC is concerned with “expanding community health centers.”

As always, there will continue to be attacks on Medicaid, SSI, the ADA, and other laws and programs that make it possible for the disability community to live independent lives in your communities. But for the moment, we can all celebrate a hard-fought victory.