When the Senate healthcare bill, officially known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, was introduced to the public last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his goal was to get it on the floor for a vote by the Fourth of July recess. But then a couple of things happened to contribute to its stalling. There was backlash from the AARP as well as other senior advocates, and then the CBO report noted that up to 22 million people would go uninsured as a result. Consequently, it became clear that the bill would not have enough votes to pass as three GOP senators, Susan Collins of Maine, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, said they would vote against it.
So where do things lie now? Let’s review:
Earlier today, President Trump called on Republican Senators to focus on first repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, before taking the next steps to replace it.
If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
The President’s call to action, according to CNN, comes shortly after Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska wrote Trump a letter, stating “On July 10, if we don’t have agreement on a combined repeal and replace plan, we should immediately vote again on H.R. 3762, the December 2015 ObamaCare repeal legislation that the Congress passed but President Obama vetoed. Meanwhile, The Hill reports that Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee met with others Thursday to make changes to the Better Care Reconciliation Act, with the goal of winning votes to get the legislation passed. However, as the LA Times notes, hopes are fading for a speedy turnaround for those necessary changes.
On the other side of the aisle, it appears the Democrats are going to take the Fourth of July recess as an opportunity ‘crank up the outrage’ over the healthcare bill. As USA Today notes, various progressive groups are planning campaigns during the recess to share stories of individuals who would allegedly lose care under the new legislation. The plan is to also focus on the districts of Republican senators who are considered at risk for re-election. In response, House Speaker Paul Ryan has labeled such arguments against the bill as “hysterical,” according to Business Insider.
While the legislation stalls, and remains the subject of debate between both parties, members of the healthcare industry have shared their opinion of the bill as well. Analysis by S&P Global, for instance, says the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, is “positive in the short term but inadequate beyond 2021,” according to Becker’s Hospital Review. In addition, Healthcare IT News reports that executives from the Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, and New York Presbyterian have their concerns about the healthcare bill.
Based on these reports, it appears safe to say that no bill will be passed soon. So the saga continues, and Medicare World will continue to keep you updated.
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