Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Senate rejects measure to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act - washingtonpost

The Senate rejected a proposal Wednesday that would have repealed major parts of the Affordable Care Act and provided a two-year delay for lawmakers to develop a substitute, indicating that in the immediate future Republicans can only muster a majority for modest changes to the current law.

In two separate votes over the course of less than 24 hours, lawmakers have rejected different approaches to rewriting the landmark 2010 law known as Obamacare. But many Republicans have expressed an openness to passing a minimalist measure that abolishes two of the ACA’s insurance mandates and a single tax on medical devices, which is being dubbed “skinny repeal.”

GOP leaders have emphasized it is a way for the Senate to start negotiations with the House, and perhaps the one way they can sustain their seven-year drive to dismantle the health care law.

Several lawmakers acknowledged Wednesday that they did not embrace the content of the proposal, but suggested they could possibly back it anyway.

“It’s a vehicle to get us into conference,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.). “That is not a solution to the problem.”

On Tuesday night, just hours after opening debate, Senate Republican leaders were unable to pass a bill that they had spent weeks crafting but that never gained sufficient traction with the rank and file. 

The fact that some Republicans have joined with Democrats on each of the votes so far underscored the challenge Senate leaders face in building consensus in coming days.

Fifty-seven senators — including nine Republicans — opposed the updated version of the measure known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), while 43 supported it. The nine dissenters included hard-line conservatives such as Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) as well as centrists like Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

A subsequent move to abolish much of the ACA outright appealed to conservatives, but lost the backing of several moderates and also more establishment figures, such as GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), who chairs one of the key committees that would normally craft a health-care bill. Overall, seven Republicans voted against that proposal.

Given all the disagreement, Republicans are focused on passing narrower changes to current law by the end of the week, known as “skinny repeal,” in hopes of keeping the debate alive in a House-Senate conference. - Read More

Senate rejects measure to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act


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