Health Care Bills Currently in Congress

Significant Health Care Bills

When it comes to significant health care bills that are currently in Congress, there are thousands of bills that are currently awaiting for Congress to be introduced to them but the significant bills are really the bills that have been made into law.

Making a Healthcare Bill a Law

All healthcare bills start as ideas. Anyone can come up with an idea for healthcare reform and draft it up as a bill but only a congressperson can present it to Congress. This is where a bill may be discussed, researched and debated upon, before going to the House of Representatives for a vote. The majority of bills to not get this far. The ones that do then have to be presented to the Senate where the process of discussion, research and debate is repeated before the Senate votes on whether to pass the bill on to the Executive Office where it sits and waits with many other bills for the President of the United States to either sign into a law, or to veto and send back to Congress. If the president vetos a bill, Congress can override this with a ⅔ majority vote. If Congress does not override the president’s veto, it is sent back to Congress where it will eventually be discussed and debated on again before being voted on. If the president fails to take any action for ten days on a bill that has been presented to them, it automatically becomes a law.

Significant Healthcare Reforms

There have been many bills that have become laws that have dramatically changed healthcare in the past century. Two significant bills from the past decade are the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (often shortened to the Affordable Care Act) and the subsequent American Health Care Act of 2017

Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The Affordable Care Act is an abbreviated name for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that was nicknamed Obama Care and signed into law in 2010. This was the most significant regulatory overhaul and expansion of coverage since Medicare and Medicaid were passed in 1965. The ACA provisions came into affect in full force in 2014 and the uninsured population was cut roughly in half by 2016. This dramatic increase was due largely in part to eligibility reforms in Medicaid and from major changes to individual insurance markets. One example of these big reforms in the individual insurance markets is that the ACA made it illegal for insurance companies to deny or raise the rates of coverage for people with, “preexisting conditions.”

American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA)

This bill partially repealed the Affordable Care Act. The House of Representatives passed this act by a narrow margin of 217 – 213 in May of 2017, which sent the bill to the Senate for deliberation. While it has not been fully made into a law, it was passed as a budget reconciliation bill that is part of the 2017 federal budget process. If completely passed, it will make drastic changes to the major reforms that were just reached by the ACA in 2010/14.

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