HomeWashington Letter2017 ▶ Senate Expected to Vote on ACA Repeal This Week
Senate Expected to Vote on ACA Repeal This Week

July 2017

Following the failure of the Senate's Affordable Care Act repeal bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, last week due to opposition from some Republican moderates and Conservatives, momentum around the Senate's effort increased after a meeting at the White House Wednesday between Senate Republicans and President Trump. However, prospects for passage of a bill remain murky. During the White House meeting, the President urged the Senate not to leave for the summer recess until they pass a bill. Later that evening, a group of Senate Republicans met with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Director Seema Verma to try to find an agreement.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell's alternative plan, announced last week, was to bring a straight ACA repeal bill with a two year transition period to Senate floor votes early this week. However, this plan was scuttled after Sens. Collins (R-ME), Capito (R-WV) and Murkowski (R-AK) stated their intention to vote against the bill.

At the urging of President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) now appears intent on holding a Senate vote this week to proceed with either consideration of an amended version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act or a straight ACA repeal bill even though it is not clear whether Republicans have the necessary 50 votes for passage of either bill. The path to passage is further complicated by Sen. McCain's (R-AZ) diagnosis of brain cancer and subsequent absence from the Senate.

Both of the bills would strip away basic patient protections that prevent discrimination against those with pre-existing health conditions, limit patient out-of-pocket costs, and prohibit lifetime and annual benefit caps. Neither bill serves patients with chronic health conditions. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has analyzed both bills and confirmed that either would reduce the number of Americans with health insurance by over 10 million starting next year and more in subsequent years.

It is important to keep in mind that the House ACA repeal and replace effort "died" before the House ultimately passed its repeal legislation, so while the Senate effort looks to be stalled, it is premature to call it "dead." For these reasons, ATS is urging members to continue contacting their senators to urge them to vote "No" on ACA repeal and replace.

Last Reviewed: October 2017