Here’s more information about the future of healthcare and the process that will take place now that the GOP leadership, under the direction of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has made the decision to separate the “repeal” from the “replace” of Obamacare. This decision has effectively closed the door on the current Republican health care legislation.
“In the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period,” McConnell said in a statement.
The bottom line is that Senate Republicans will repeal Obamacare now, and begin a two-year process that will push a replacement bill until after the 2018 midterm elections.
There are still some hurdles ahead for McConnell. He will need to overcome procedural issues to get the Senate to vote on a repeal-only proposal. And separating repeal from replace could force Republicans to get 60 votes (which means the support of Democrats) when the replacement legislation is eventually brought to the table.
McConnell will especially have problems with his new plan because three Republican Senators just told Mitch No! The Hill reports:
Earlier Tuesday, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) also said they will not support moving to the repeal-only bill. Republicans can only afford two defections if Vice President Pence breaks a tie.
Collins said she is urging Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate’s Heath, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, to “begin to hold hearings to examine ways to fix the many flaws in the ACA so that it will work better for all Americans.”
“We can’t just hope that we will pass a replacement within the next two years. Repealing without a replacement would create great uncertainty for individuals who rely on the [Affordable Care Act] and cause further turmoil in the insurance markets,” she said.
The quick pushback from moderates is raising fresh concerns about whether congressional Republicans will be able to make good on their years-long campaign pledge to repeal ObamaCare.
This new plan to pass a repeal bill only came after a total of four senators refused to support the current GOP health care bill. GOP senators Rand Paul (Ky) and Susan Collins (Maine) pulled their support from the beginning. And on Monday night, Mike Lee (Utah) and Jerry Moran (Kan.) announced that they would withdraw their support. With a 52 seat majority, McConnell could only afford to lose two GOP votes and would still need Vice President Pence’s vote to break a tie.
“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” McConnell said. Now the question is will the Senate Majority Leader be able to secure enough votes to support the repeal of Obamacare and also when will this vote take place. The Senate is in place until August 11th and then will leave their post until September.
President Trump shared his support of separating repeal from replace at this time on Twitter: “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” And Senator Rand Paul echoed the sentiment with this tweet: “As @realDonaldTrump and I discussed last week. Clean repeal now!”
Repealing without replacing Obamacare could leave 18 million people without health insurance in the next year, according to a report released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in January. A repeal only law takes away authority for the federal government to run healthcare exchanges, scraps subsidies to help people afford plans bought through those exchanges and zeros out the penalties on people who do not buy insurance and employers who do not provide insurance.
John McCain had this to say about the process going forward: “The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has proposed an interesting twist for a third approach on Monday night. He proposed a bill with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) to give states significant money and let them decide whether to keep much of Obamacare or try something new.
What do you think the process moving forward will look like?
Credit: The Hill