Still having trouble figuring out what just happened? And what happens now?

To recap: The Senate failed to pass several bills for repeal and replace, or just replace, the Affordable Care Act.

What to watch now:

  1. The Administration may continue to attempt to undermine the individual health insurance markets by refusing to pay cost-sharing reductions (CSRs). CSR’s are payments that help low-income people pay for their co-payments, deductibles, and co-insurance: many items that add up to out-of-pocket costs.  Without this assistance, it would be hard to afford healthcare services even if the premiums are low. Without CSR’s, (healthy) people would likely drop out of the individual insurance market and costs will get higher for everyone else who stays in. In other words, this is a way in which Administration policy can still dismantle pieces of the Affordable Care Act without an act of Congress.  Of note, the Administration is continuing what came out of an act of Congress….Republicans sued the Obama Administration in 2014 over CSRs (one of many aspects in which the ACA was challenged from being fully implemented). You can read the Vox summary for more on CSR’s.
  2. Bipartisanship? : The House Problem Solvers Caucus has come up with a bipartisan plan with various fixes to current ACA problems.
  3. Even Bigger Block Grants: Sens. Graham and Cassidy propose to take all the money available under the ACA and give to states as one big block grant– even bigger than the Medicaid block grant, this would include premium subsidies, CSRs, and Medicaid expansion.  Concerns about block grants posted last time.

Click here for a handy timeline of key events coming up in healthcare policy.