Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The House passed legislation included an amendment that increases funding to mitigate a potential rise in health care premiums for those with pre-existing conditions; however, concerns remain about the impact this bill could have on SMA patients’ access to care (see previous update on legislation here).
The AHCA must now be sent to the Senate for its consideration and passage before it can become law. However, the Senate has announced it is unlikely to take up consideration of the AHCA legislation and will instead likely draft its own bill to repeal provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which could be substantially different from the AHCA. If the Senate passes legislation, the differences between the two bills would have to be resolved in conference and then final legislation would need to be passed by both chambers of Congress before it becomes law.
As the Senate debates healthcare reform there are many opportunities for affected families and individuals with SMA to make our concerns heard. You can locate your Senators at this resource. It is imperative that these officials understand the importance of providing safeguards for people with pre-existing conditions.
Cure SMA will continue to monitor this issue and will provide updates to our community on opportunities to engage to ensure that the voices of SMA patients and families are heard.