The Republicans in the Senate are in a full-court press in an attempt to pass some version of their health care law. After Sen. John McCain returned to the Senate shortly after brain surgery and cast a vote in favor of the motion to proceed, the Senate voted on the Better Care Reconciliation Act — the repeal-and-replace bill Sen. Mitch McConnell worked on in secret that cuts Medicaid, among other things — Tuesday night, but it ultimately failed.
The Senate then moved on to a repeal-only bill Wednesday, but that failed as well.
That bill would have done the following:
[S]ignificantly gut the Affordable Care Act by repealing its unpopular individual and employer mandates, ending Medicaid expansion and rolling back a slew of the law’s taxes. The repeal would not go into effect for two years — a “transition period” during which Republicans would draft a replacement plan.
In voting down that bill, Democrats were joined by Republican Senators Susan Collins, Lamar Alexander, Rob Portman, Dean Heller, Lisa Murkowski (who Trump singled out for voting against the motion to proceed), John McCain, and Shelley Moore Capito. In 2015, with the exception of Collins, all those Senators voted in favor of a repeal-only bill that was vetoed by President Obama. The bill’s failure solidifies the idea that a straight-repeal of the Affordable Care Act isn’t practical or politically viable.
McConnell is expected to move forward now on a “skinny repeal” version of the bill that would nix the individual mandate provision in Obamacare as well as some taxes, such as those on medical devices. If McConnell is able to secure 50 votes on that, he can move the bill into conference with the House of Representatives and work further on the “replace” aspect of this legislation that keeps getting hammered by the Congressional Budget Office.