Yesterday, Senate Republicans announced that they lacked enough votes to move their legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, forward. With this latest bill effectively dead, policy analysts believe an overhaul of Obamacare is less likely than before.
What’s happened so far?
- In March 2017, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was introduced in the House
- In May, the AHCA passes the House after previous versions of the bill failed to pass
- In June, the Senate unveils their version of the House bill renamed the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA)
- Last week, the Senate released a revised version of the BCRA in an effort to garner more votes from legislators
Where are we now?
Moderate and more conservative Senators were still unhappy with the bill, even after its revisions. At the same time, industry groups and constituencies also played a role in pressuring Senators to abandon the legislation.
After plans to replace Obamacare were scrapped, many lawmakers and the Trump Administration suggested focusing on simply repealing the ACA. This proposal was again rejected by Senators who were concerned with the impact of coverage losses if a bill were to pass.
What comes next?
President Trump declared his plan was to simply “let Obamacare fail,” in the aftermath of the dead end reached last night. Despite this, Trump met with lawmakers today to encourage them to continue working on a bill during the postponed August recess. Though Trump hopes to resurrect the bill, many lawmakers are eager to move onto other legislative priorities.
With a ceremonial vote on the bill scheduled for next week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced today that if a repeal-only bill were to pass, 32 million individuals would lose their insurance by 2026. In light of the mounting complexity of passing a health reform bill, many have called on legislators to adopt a bipartisan approach to fixing insurance markets and tackling other short-term healthcare needs.
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