As Congress returns to states and districts for a two-week recess, lawmakers can expect to face more questions and concerns about the future of health care, given the failed attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Before legislative business wrapped up last week, there was a last-minute effort to make changes and vote again on the American Health Care Act (AHCA). However, without consensus, there was no further action on the health care bill. When lawmakers return, they could attempt to make additional tweaks to the legislation, including:

    • allowing states to opt out of the essential health benefits (EHB) provision of the ACA, which requires health plans to cover basic services, such as visits to the emergency department, ambulatory care, prenatal care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, lab services, preventive care, hospitalizations, and prescriptions drugs; and
    • creating a new, $15 billion pot of funding to help states cover high-cost patients with so-called “skinny” health plans that don’t cover services required under the EHB provision of the ACA.

America’s Essential Hospitals issued an Action Alert Monday asking member hospitals to take advantage of the congressional recess by meeting with lawmakers back home to express concerns about the AHCA and future health reform efforts.