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Skinny Repeal Bill Fails in the Senate

Healthcare Reform - BCRA - AHCA - ACA

Around 1:30 a.m. on Friday morning, in a surprising vote, Senator John McCain walked to the dais of the Senate and uttered one word, “No.” There were gasps on the Senate floor as Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) had already voted against the skinny repeal bill that had appeared to be gaining traction with GOP Senators. The plan was not to pass that particular bill as law, but to find the lowest common denominator that could be agreed upon and continue to work with the House GOP in conference to find something that could replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  

Four Republican Senators, including McCain, held a news conference earlier in the day and stated that they would only vote for the skinny repeal if they were assured by the House GOP leadership that the bill would go to conference and not be voted on as is.  There were conversations with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan throughout the evening but apparently that wasn’t enough for Senator McCain.

In an emotional address on the Senate floor around 1:45 a.m., Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed his disappointment and challenged the Senate Democrats to share their ideas for improving the flaws of the ACA.

What comes next is a mystery. Very soon the House will depart for the long August recess and the Senate will follow in a week or two. The plan was to come back and move on to tax reform, but lawmakers will continue to be under pressure to address the challenges the ACA is facing across the country. 

As always, we will keep you posted with all the changes moving forward.

Written by Greg Stancil

Greg Stancil serves as a Senior Account Executive at Scott Benefit Services with over 18 years of experience in the healthcare industry, working with PPO networks, carriers and as a consultant. He also serves as Director of Healthcare Reform, as which he oversees Scott’s client healthcare reform plan actuarial validation and affordability custom modeling, healthcare client checklist, due diligence process and client HCR monthly webinar series. Additionally, Greg conducts healthcare reform workshops across the country. Greg attended Luther Rice University and has his Registered Health Underwriter (RHU), Chartered Healthcare Consultant (ChHC) and Certificate of Studies in Healthcare Reform designations from the American College.

Senate Votes Yes on Motion to Proceed

Healthcare Reform - BCRA - AHCA - ACA

This afternoon the Senate voted to move forward on debate of the healthcare bill. It’s important to note that this vote only allows the Senate to move on to debate and doesn’t pass any particular version of a healthcare bill. 

There is still much discussion and confusion around exactly what happens next. Many in DC are reporting that several iterations and amendments will be voted on and will most likely fail. However, there does seem to be some growing consensus around a “skinny repeal”. This would be a very scaled-down version of repeal that could simply include repealing the individual and employer mandates and something like the medical device excise tax. Some in the GOP feel like it might be possibe to get the 50 votes by scaling the bill down to that level and continuing to tweak small pieces moving forward.

We will continue to monitor healthcare reform developments and provide updates on our Performance Thinking blog.

Lee and Moran Announce Opposition to BCRA; McConnell Changes Course

Healthcare Reform - BCRA - AHCA - ACA

Last night (Monday, July 17) Senators Jerry Moran and Mike Lee simultaneously released statements that they would not vote to proceed to debate on the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). With Senators Rand Paul and Susan Collins already in the “no” column, this announcement made it clear to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he would not be able to proceed as planned. In a statement released last night he stated, “Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.” He then stated, “In the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period.”

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Senate Releases Draft Health Care Bill

Healthcare Reform - BCRA - AHCA - ACA

UPDATE – Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their cost estimate which indicated that they expect the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) to reduce the deficit by $321 Billion over 10 years. The CBO also estimates that under the BCRA 22 million more people would be uninsured in 2026 compared to the current law. Click here to read the full CBO report.

Additionally, the Senate updated the draft bill yesterday to fill the gap due to the repeal of the individual mandate. They added language that would require an individual who had more than a 63-day gap in coverage to complete a six-month waiting period before their coverage would be reinstated.
Regarding the timing of an expected vote on tbe bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced earlier this afternoon that they would delay the vote and continue the discussion around the bill until after the July 4th recess.  McConnell had stated previously that the goal was to vote on the bill before the end of this week.

On Thursday, June 22, the Senate released a “Discussion Draft” of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).  Click here to view the draft.  At this point, the bill is still open for amendments and awaiting a CBO score at the beginning of next week. This means that the contents of the existing draft bill will most likely change prior to an expected vote before the Senate leaves for the July 4th recess next week.  

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