Senate Releases Health Care Bill
On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky released a 142-page health care “Discussion Draft” of legislation, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA), which is the Senate version of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “repeal-and-replace” legislation American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last month. An updated “Discussion Draft” of the BRCA was released on June 26, 2017. A summary of the updated June 26 draft of the BCRA by the U.S. Senate Committee on the budget is available here and a section-by-section summary of the June 26th version is available here.
The major substantive change in the updated Discussion Draft released on June 26 was to add a new Section 206, beginning in 2019, that would subject an individual who has a break in continuous “creditable coverage” for 63 days or more in the prior year to a six-month waiting period (in the individual market) before coverage begins. This provision is intended to provide an incentive for young and healthier individuals to maintain health insurance since the bill would eliminate the individual mandate. The AHCA proposed imposing a 30% surcharge on those without continuous creditable coverage, but there were concerns over whether that provision could pass Senate parliamentary rules.