Congress Passes Budget Bill Creating Pathway for ACA Repeal
Congress took their first step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last week, as both chambers passed a budget resolution that gives Congress instructions to start developing an ACA repeal package. The Senate passed the resolution first, followed by the House, and both votes split primarily along party lines. The budget resolution will permit the Congressional majority to use reconciliation, a filibuster-proof tool that would allow repeal legislation to pass with simple majorities in the House and Senate.
It is important to note that last week’s vote is just the start of what is expected to be a months-long debate on health care reform. Members of Congress have proposed multiple ACA replacement strategies, including: Speaker Paul Ryan’s “A Better Way”, separate bills from Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and any potential replacement plan put forward by the new Trump administration. With an apparent lack of consensus on the details of ACA replacement, advocates in the behavioral health community have the time and opportunity to influence this process and potentially delay or stop cuts to behavioral health services.
We are requesting all National Council members act NOW to protect consumers’ access to care. Over the next few months, the National Council will be calling on advocates repeatedly to make their voices heard. Visit the Act NOW page every week to participate in the latest call to action. NOW is the time for everyone in the behavioral health community to speak out!