Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017

Background:

On June 22nd, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell [R-KY] released a discussion draft of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA).” The BCRA bill is the Senate’s response to the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA). The proposed legislation is very similar to the AHCA as outlined above, with some key differences.

Key Differences from the AHCA

  • The proposed cuts to Medicaid are deeper than those in the AHCA, but occur over a longer period of time (seven years versus three years).
  • It allows states to waive the essential health benefit requirements mandated in the ACA.
  • The BCRA replaces the ACA’s Individual Mandate with a measure that locks out of the marketplace for six months people whose coverage has lapsed.
  • The CBO estimates that 22 million people would lose health insurance by 2026 as a result of the BCRA, rather than 23 million as a result the AHCA.

What This Means For Those With Disabilities

This legislation, like the AHCA, reduces funding to  the Medicaid program. It moves to a per-capita cap system of funding, meaning that the federal government would offer a fixed amount of money for each beneficiary. Like the AHCA, it also phases out the ACA’s medicaid expansion. The BCRA should be treated essentially the same as the AHCA when considering its impact on those with disabilities. Reductions in available funding for Medicaid threatens the continued availability of home and community based services.

Status

This bill is the accompanying measure to the AHCA – the House’s ACA repeal and replace legislation. A revised version of the bill was released on June 26th. On June 27, Senate leadership announced that a vote on the bill will be delayed until after the July 4th recess. The measure must be put on the Senate floor with the allowance of 20 hours of debate prior to a vote.

United Cerebral Palsy is opposed to the BCRA. Please read the statement by our colleagues at the Consortium of Citizens With Disabilities to learn more.