What’s the Status of the AHCA?June 13, 2017
Since the House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) last month, little has been reported about the Senate’s plans for the bill. As you may have heard, last week the Senate started the process of voting on its version of the AHCA. So far, there is still not much public information, but it is anticipated that the Senate version will be somewhat different from the House bill.
Assuming the Senate ultimately passes an amended version of the AHCA, the next step would likely be a conference committee. A conference committee allows the Senate and House to hammer out differences and finalize the law without the bill going back and forth between the two chambers. The proposed changes leaked so far are minor adjustments, but could enable more Senators to support the bill to get it to the conference committee. The questions are first, whether the Senate changes will get enough votes to pass their AHCA and second, whether the conference committee will ultimately be able to reconcile the two bills into one final law.
To make that happen, Republican Senators are currently negotiating amongst themselves. The apparent goal is to send an amended AHCA bill to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as soon as this week for the “scoring” impact. Unlike the House, the Senate needs the CBO score before voting or they cannot use the simple majority (only 51 votes) exception for budget reconciliation bills. Normally, the Senate needs a 60-vote majority to pass any legislation.
A vote is likely to take place before the Senate’s scheduled summer recess. The intention is to pass the bill into law by September 30th, the end of the federal government’s fiscal year.
We will continue to keep you updated. In the meantime, please call your Keller account team with questions.