July 28, 2017
Senate Republican Health Care Reform Efforts Defeated
Senate Republicans were unable to advance a number of proposals to alter or repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) today, marking the likely end of current GOP health care reform efforts.
In the latest vote on a health care repeal and replace proposal, Senate leadership offered a “skinny” repeal bill, a scaled down version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act. This legislation included repealing the individual mandate, repealing the employer mandate for a period 5 years, granting greater flexibility to states through the use of waivers out of the current system, and defunding Planned Parenthood for a one year period. In a late night vote, the Senate failed to pass this proposal by a vote of 49-51, with three Republican Senators - Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) joining all Senate Democrats in opposition.
Previously, the Senate rejected the full Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). In other efforts, Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) made a motion to recommit the bill to the Senate Finance Committee in an effort to induce more consideration of reforms. This motion failed by 48-52 on a straight party line vote.
Earlier Thursday, the Senate considered an amendment by Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), entitled the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, which would provide for single-payer health care. This amendment failed, with 57 Senators voting no, including Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (WV), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Jon Tester (MT), Joe Donnelley (IN) and Independent Senator Angus King (ME). Independent Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) joined the remaining Democrats in voting “present”.
After this latest defeat, it is unclear how or when legislative efforts on health care reform will continue. ASA physician leaders and staff will continue to provide updates on health care reform proposals.