Senate votes to begin debating Obamacare repeal – Health Care News

on Jul27

25 July 2017 | 10:00 am

The Senate on Tuesday voted to start debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, despite dissent from some Republicans who still don’t know what version of the bill they’re considering.

The Senate now has 20 hours over several days to debate, and then an unknown amount of time to make amendments before a final bill on how to reform the individual insurance market and change federal Medicaid funding.

Read more about the effect on Illinois:
Illinois hospitals warn of job, service cuts if GOP health care bill becomes law
What Chicago experts think about Senate’s health care bill
Greg Hinz: Rauner wusses out in Obamacare debate

Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, voted against taking up the bill. Vice President Mike Pence delivered the tie-breaking vote on the procedural motion.

Before the roll call began, about a dozen spectators including some in white coats in the galley started chanting, “Kill the bill, don’t kill us.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will have no time to savor this hard-won victory. He will still need to woo three or four conservative senators to support what they see as a new entitlement: providing financial help to buy private insurance. Conservatives want to make sure that some customers can buy cheaper insurance on the individual market.

Since Obamacare remade the individual market by opening it to all customers and standardizing benefits, premiums have risen by nearly 100%, a burden for those who earn too much to qualify for subsidies.

But there are even more senators who want to preserve Medicaid expansion in their states — more people gained coverage through Medicaid than buy policies on the exchanges.

Any change McConnell makes to appeal to conservatives loses votes in the center.

To make it even more complicated, only provisions that reduce the budget deficit can be included in the bill, because only budget-related bills are allowed to proceed with a 51-vote rather than 60-vote majority. The parliamentarian has already signaled that she does not believe that the Republican replacement for the individual mandate meets that standard. Republicans intended to impose a six-month waiting period to get individual insurance for those who either choose not to buy, or who buy a skimpy policy, if that returns as an option.

The parliamentarian has also nixed a simple-majority vote for any bill including conservatives’ proposal to defund Planned Parenthood for one year, which could cause problems if the bill were to pass, and return to the House of Representatives for a final OK.

Former Republican staffer Chris Jacobs, of the Juniper Group, wrote that Republicans should have rejected the motion to proceed, warning that what would follow would be “a policy morass that could make the confusing events of the past week look tame by comparison.”

After debate, all senators, including Democrats, will be allowed to offer amendments in a process colloquially called a “vote-a-rama.” But at the very end, McConnell can bring forward a substitution with new items that weren’t part of the amendment process or the original bill. Senators would have virtually no time to evaluate it before voting.

Related:
AMA head: Obamacare has a cold, not a terminal illness
Roskam, Kinzinger, Hultgren made the difference in Obamacare repeal
In Illinois, a dark horse enters the health insurance race

This article first appeared on the website of Crain’s sister publication Modern Healthcare.



Previous postArmy Wife Fears Transgender Ban Will Cut Daughter's Coverage Next postAld. Moreno denies using threats to benefit Double Door music club


Chicago Financial Times


Copyright © 2021 Chicago Financial Times

Updates via RSS
or Email