The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

The House Passes H.R. 1628, a Bill to Repeal and Replace Obamacare

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017.  Only Republicans voted for the measure and every Democrat voted against it, along with 20 Republicans.  The vote was 217 to 213.

As you will recall, H.R. 1628 had to be pulled from consideration in late March after strong objections to it were raised in the House.  After weeks of intense discussions, compromises, and amendments, the Republicans were able to get enough support for the legislation.  It is important that the Congress moves to replace Obamacare because it continues to fail across the country.  Medica, the last exchange insurer in Iowa, just announced it will likely pull out of the state next year unless the market stabilizes and Aetna reported it will leave the Virginia Obamacare exchanges in 2018.

The bill makes many important and positive changes as it begins to return power back to the states, allowing them to regulate health insurance.  AHCA also provides $1 trillion in tax cuts that will help spur job growth and the economy.

  • It repeals the penalty tax for not purchasing health insurance for both individuals and employers;
  • It repeals the taxes on medical devices, pharmaceuticals, insurance plans, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Savings Accounts;
  • It greatly reforms Medicaid and puts it on a budget for the first time since it was created in 1965;
  • It allows states to submit waivers to the Department of Health and Human Services in order to have more flexibility in the types of benefits insurers can offer to lower premiums and encourage more enrollment, while protecting those with pre-existing conditions;
  • It provides $138 billion to states via a Patient and State Stability Fund and a federal Risk Sharing Program to help stabilize the individual market.  The programs allow the states to find the best way to lower costs for their citizens, especially those with low incomes, special health needs, and pre-existing conditions;
  • It doubles the amount that can be contributed to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and allows catch-up contributions; and
  • It provides advanceable, refundable tax credits to help low- and middle-income individuals and families to purchase health insurance in the individual market.

There is a lot to AHCA and you can read more about it here and get updates on the bill’s process.

Meanwhile, as Obamacare spirals out of control and collapes, its supporters are going berserk over AHCA’s passage in the House.  One of the more spurious and outrageous memes being reported and floated in social media is that rape victims are not covered under AHCA.  This is not true and Elizabeth Brown discusses this at the Reason blog.  Expect more shameful untruths in the next several weeks.

This is just the end of the beginning.  The Senate is in the process of writing a bill and while they will likely adopt much of what the House agreed on, any changes the Senate makes must be approved by the House.  There are a lot of hurdles ahead that must be navigated before it reaches President Trump’s desk.

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