In a shocking twist, Senate leadership decided this week that they will no longer advance the Better Care Reconciliation Act, a bill that would have slashed Medicaid, spiked costs for older adults, and yanked coverage away from 22 million Americans. This news would be welcome, if not for reports that the Senate is now rumored to turn to an already discredited scheme to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a meaningful and simultaneous replacement.
As early as next week, the Senate plans to move forward with a motion to proceed with the debate on the American Health Care Act—the partisan bill passed in the House of Representatives in May. This motion to proceed is a necessary measure to allow Senate leaders to bring the House bill to the floor so they can put forward their repeal scheme. Many perceive that a failure to vote on the motion could put an end to the ACA repeal effort.
Speculation aside, this is what we do know about repealing the ACA without a viable replacement. Repeal and delay would send the individual health insurance market into chaos and put the well-being and financial stability of older adults and people with disabilities at grave risk. The Congressional Budget Office finds that repeal of the ACA without an immediate replacement could cause 18 million Americans to lose coverage within a year, and 32 million to lose coverage within the decade. Over 4.5 million people ages 55 to 64 who rely on the ACA marketplaces or expansion Medicaid would be uninsured. Repeal would also send insurance premiums skyrocketing, doubling them within a decade.
Medicare Rights stands with the American people, most of whom already rejected this foolish plan. We urge members of Congress to vote no on the motion to proceed, put aside this unworkable scheme, and focus instead on bipartisan solutions to enhance health care affordability and quality for all American families.