It’s been an eventful couple of weeks when it comes to Congress’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Last week, it appeared the Senate would not be able to pass any bills, or even bring any bills to the floor for a vote. This week, the Senate voted on several health care bills and each one was defeated. Here’s what you need to know:
- “YES” Vote on the “Motion to Proceed”: On Tuesday, the Senate secured 51 votes, including a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence, to begin debate on repealing the ACA. This procedural vote on the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) is allowing the Senate to amend the AHCA and vote on multiple versions of policies—some known and unknown—to repeal the ACA, end Medicaid as we know it, undermine Medicare, and more.
- “NO” Vote on “Repeal and Replace”: Also on Tuesday, the Senate rejected the most recent version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), also known as the Senate’s “repeal and replace” bill. This bill would have ended Medicaid as we know it and would have caused 22 million people to lose health care coverage. Though there are 52 Republican Senators, this bill received only 43 “yes” votes.
- “NO” Vote on “Repeal and Delay”: On Wednesday, the Senate voted on the Obamacare Repeal and Reconciliation Act (ORRA), also known as the “repeal-and-delay” bill. This bill would have ended all of the funding for Medicaid expansion and the ACA individual market exchanges, resulting in 32 million people losing health care coverage. Again, this bill failed to garner enough votes, with 45 “yes” votes.
- UPCOMING Vote on “Skinny Repeal”: As early as tonight, the Senate could vote on the so-called “skinny repeal.” According to reports, this option would repeal the requirement for everyone to carry health insurance and may also repeal one of the ACA’s taxes on wealthy corporations. Other proposals might be in the bill as well, though reports are changing minute by minute. Preliminary estimates suggest that a bill that repeals the mandate could cause chaos in the individual health insurance market, resulting in 16 million people losing coverage within the first year, and premium spikes of 20%.
If this option were passed, the House would have the choice of either voting on it immediately or trying to work with selected Senators to craft another bill, through what’s called a conference committee. A bill resulting from this committee would have to pass in both the House and Senate before being sent to the President for his signature.
Importantly, Medicaid remains at grave risk. This bare-bones bill might simply serve as a vehicle for making radical cuts to the Medicaid program through what’s known as per-capita caps, a proposal included in prior House and Senate ACA repeal bills.
Medicare Rights remains opposed to any of the revealed options for repealing the ACA. All of the proposals would lead to millions of Americans losing health care coverage, with especially harmful effects for older adults and people with disabilities not yet eligible for Medicare.
Take Action: Call Your Senator
Call 1-866-426-2631 and tell your Senator the only acceptable action on health reform right now is to stop this process and start from scratch.