Senate Healthcare Bill Rejected Again, Republican Leaders Look to ACA Repeal

JULY 18, 2017
Kevin Kunzmann


The US Senate Republicans’ intent to supplant the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (ACA) is reaching another standstill.

After their first proposed replacement to the ACA — informally known as “Obamacare” — was unable to reach enough in-party support in late June, the majority leaders’ revised “Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA)” was presented last week.

The bill has again failed to gain enough Republican support, as the simultaneous defections of 2 more senators from the BCRA Monday disallowed discussion and voting on the bill again.

Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mike Lee (R-UT) joined Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY) in party opposition to the revised bill. 

Lee expressed issue with the current revision’s limited repeal of ACA-based taxes and regulations, as well as its failures to lower premiums “for middle class families” in a statement Tuesday.

In his own statement, Moran said the bill failed to complete his 2 healthcare goals: repeal the ACA and “address healthcare’s rising costs.”

Moran’s former goal was addressed in a reactionary proposal by senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday. 

After conceding on the Senate floor that efforts to repeal and immediately replace the ACA had failed, McConnell presented a plan to repeal ACA acts without an immediate replacement in place, with a 2-year transition period that could allow Senate more time to pass a bill.

Repealing the ACA would mean the elimination of the bills’ tax credit funding for insurance, Medicaid expansion plans, and overall requirement of individual insurance.

The proposal was a similar sentiment to that posted on President Donald Trump’s personal Twitter page Monday night. Trump wrote that Republican senators should repeal the ACA and begin work on a new healthcare plan “that will start from a clean slate.”

But McConnell’s proposal may not have made it out of the Tuesday Senate session. Collins, Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) declared intention to not vote for a repeal without a replacement. The third majority leader healthcare proposal — in nearly as many weeks — does not seem to have enough support to reach vote.

In a statement, Collins noted she had also voted against an ACA repeal without replacement proposal in 2015, believing the act would create a “great uncertainty for individuals who rely on the ACA.”

“We can’t just hope that we will pass a replacement within the next 2 years,” Collins said.

Other party members, such as Rob Portman (R-OH), expressed uncertainty with the repeal-only proposal.

In a press brief Tuesday, Trump told reporters he was disappointed in the Senate’s inability to repeal and replace the ACA.

“We’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail,” Trump said. “We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it, and I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it.”

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on the floor Tuesday that he hopes the Republicans will “change their tune” after a one-party effort to approve the BCRA.

"Rather than repeating the same failed partisan process yet again, Republicans should work with Democrats on a bill that lowers premiums, provides long-term stability to the markets, and improves our healthcare system,” Schumer said.

Related Coverage

Senate Republican Leaders Propose Revised Healthcare Bill
Senate Majority Proposes the Better Care Reconciliation Act
Bill to Partially Repeal Affordable Care Act Moves to President's Desk Awaiting Likely Veto

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