Federal Health Care Reform

The Issue:

Federal reforms are needed to help businesses, large and small, offer quality and affordable health insurance benefits to their employees.  

Where We Stand:

The Michigan Chamber encourages Congress to tackle the current health care crisis and pass legislation that would control costs, expand access and improve the quality of America’s health care and health insurance systems. Critical components of Obamacare are failing, leading to unsustainable cost increases and uncertain coverage options.  

Congress must take action before it gets worse, repealing the onerous burdens and tax increases on job providers and insurers under Obamacare to reverse the trend of sharp rate increases and avoid further departure of insurers from the marketplace. Federal efforts should be focused on market-friendly reforms that enable employers to provide cost-effective health care benefits, expand flexibility and choice in the health insurance marketplace and promote and improve employee health status. 

Although a bill passed the U.S. House in May of 2017 by a vote of 217 to 213, the road to passage in the Senate remains bumpy. Because the AHCA is a budget reconciliation bill that is part of the 2017 federal budget process, this status means that it cannot be filibustered in the U.S. Senate and can thus pass the Senate with a simple majority vote. However, the substance of what passes the Senate will be governed by two factors: 1) What provisions pass muster with the parliamentarian under the Byrd Rule (for example, provisions that don't affect federal direct spending or revenue will not survive); and 2) What package of provisions can garner the support of 50+ Republican Senators (i.e., with the Vice President breaking a tie, Republicans can only lose the support of two GOP Senators). 

Ultimately, the Senate should be expected to pass something more moderate than the House. However, it remains unclear whether the two chambers can band together to forge a compromise. This test will occur if and when the Senate passes a bill and it returns to the House. At that point, the House can pass the Senate bill without change, amend it and send it back to the Senate, or request a Conference with the Senate.

Staff Contact: 
Wendy Block
Senior Director, Health Policy, Human Resources & Business Advocacy
(517) 371-7678
Legislative Proposals: 

H.R.1628 - American Health Care Act of 2017 (as passed by the US House of Representatives) 

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