Senate debates bill to repeal and replace parts of ACA

AHA News

The Senate yesterday voted 45-55 to reject the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Ac. The legislation was similar to a 2015 bill passed by the Congress, but vetoed by President Obama to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without replacement.

Senate debate is expected to continue today. Once the debate time has expired, senators will begin offering amendments during a process commonly known as ”vote-a-rama.” There is no limit on the number of amendments that can be offered, but amendments must be germane and debate time is limited.

The Senate on July 25 voted 51-50, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie, to proceed to debate on legislation to repeal parts of the ACA.

While expressing disappointment with that vote, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack  said the AHA is “more determined than ever to help advance solutions aimed at protecting coverage.”

As the Senate wades through its amendment process, “it is our hope that the critical task of repairing our health care system can be achieved on a bipartisan basis,” Pollack said. “Our challenges are too great and our opportunities too promising to let political partisanship dictate the path forward for America’s patients.”

He said legislative efforts that “entail devastating cuts to the Medicaid program or coverage losses will be opposed with the same vigor that was responsible for the Senate's inability to debate the [House-passed American Health Care Act] until now.”

In a first vote of the many likely to come this week, the plan to repeal and replace the ACA that Senate Republicans had been working on for months failed to get the 60 votes needed for approval on Tuesday night. The vote was 43 in favor and 57 against.

The day that the Senate began debate on legislation, the AHA’s Pollack urged senators to “protect patients, and find ways to maintain coverage for as many Americans as possible by rejecting the legislation to repeal and replace the ACA, including its elimination of Medicaid expansion, untenable cuts to the Medicaid program, dilution of consumer protections, and inadequate tax credits for individuals purchasing coverage on the exchanges.”

Leaders from the AHA, American Medical Association, AARP and American Heart Association also called on the Senate at a July 25 press conference to advance a solution aimed at protecting coverage for all Americans who currently have it.

Topics: Access and Coverage, Advocacy and Public Policy
Tags: Coverage, advocacy, access, members

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