HomeWashington Letter2017 ▶ Senate Drafts Health Reform Legislation in Secret
Senate Drafts Health Reform Legislation in Secret

June 2017

Senate Republicans are drafting legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in secret, without holding committee hearings or working with Democrats with the aim of bringing it to the Senate floor for votes before the July 4 recess. Their plan at this point appears to be to release the legislation 48 hours before Senate floor votes, which means that Senate Democrats and the public will have very limited time to review the contents of the bill. The ATS is very concerned about the speed and lack of transparency of this process to pass legislation that will impact the health coverage of all Americans and may cause millions to lose their health insurance coverage.

Few details of the Senate's ACA repeal and replace bill have emerged. One potential proposal that has is a longer phase-out of the ACA's Medicaid expansion. The House American Health Care Act (ACHA) would end the Medicaid expansion in 2020. The Senate proposal under discussion would extend the phase-out until 2027. Other issues under negotiation are protections for people with pre-existing conditions and whether the Senate bill will permit states to waive the ACA's essential health benefits, which includes benefits that are critical to people with respiratory illness such as prescription drug coverage and chronic disease management.

The ATS recently sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer urging the Senate to abide by the "do no harm" spirit of the Hippocratic Oath as the Senate considers repeal and replacement of the ACA. The ATS letter points out that our patient population of people with respiratory conditions cannot afford to lose affordable health insurance coverage for any period of time and urges the Senate to preserve key health access principles including maintenance of community rating rules for people with pre-existing conditions and maintenance of the ACA's essential health benefits. The letter states that the ATS will not support a Senate bill that does not maintain these and other protections as well as affordable health coverage for Americans that received coverage under the ACA.

ATS Action Alert on Healthcare Reform

Last Reviewed: October 2017