The draft legislative texts that will make up the American Health Care Act cleared two House committees this week amid vociferous complaints about the legislation, seemingly from all quarters. At some level this is understandable. After all, nobody expected the Democrats to stand up and applaud a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. And for Republicans, three other factors contribute. First, health-care reform is hard, and there are widely varying views of the best policy. Second, these are draft bills, not final legislation. The markup process is supposed to identify and modify unpopular provisions. Finally, the bill’s scope is limited by the budget reconciliation rules that fast-track Senate consideration. It is simply not possible to embody the full range of policy issues in a reconciliation bill, and some disappointment directly follows from what has had to be left out.
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