House Budget Committee Advances Health Care Reform Bill

March 17, 2017

This week, the House Budget Committee approved, by a vote of 19 to 17, the 2017 budget reconciliation bill that repeals and replaces parts of the Affordable Care Act, sending it on to the Rules Committee, where Republicans hope to make several changes to the bill before bringing it to the House floor as early as next week.  Democrats on the committee offered several motions that failed largely along party lines, including one that highlighted this week’s CBO report that the bill would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 24 million over the next ten years.  The motion would have halted implementation of the bill until HHS could prove it wouldn’t increase the number of uninsured people or raise insurance premiums.  However, the committee did approve GOP motions that directed the House Rules Committee to request three amendments to the bill's Medicaid reform provisions, and one amendment that would restructure the tax credits to provide more funding to lower-income individuals.  Since the Budget Committee does not have the authority to alter the bill’s language, it offers motions to express the committee's support for future amendments to the bill.  Although the House could consider the bill as soon as next week, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) did not commit to that schedule saying: "We're very pleased with where we are because we are on track and on schedule with where we've been intending to be this whole time."