The Senate took the first step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) late last night, by approving a budget resolution that will pave the way to dismantle the health care law. The 51-48 vote sends the budget blueprint to the House of Representatives for a vote which could come as early as tomorrow.
The vote does not repeal President Obama’s signature achievement, but it does set the stage for Republicans to clear the first procedural hurdle for repeal of the massive health care law. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives for a vote expected to take place on Friday.
“The Senate just took an important step toward repealing and replacing Obamacare by passing the resolution that provides the legislative tools necessary to actually repeal this failed law while we move ahead with smarter health care policies,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.
According to CNN.com, “The House is expected take a swift vote on the resolution, possibly as early as Friday, which will trigger congressional committees to begin crafting a second bill that would roll back major parts of Obamacare. Though it will be weeks before Congress votes on that bill, Thursday still marked a victory for the Republican Party as it moves toward overhauling the country’s healthcare system.”
Republicans say the 2016 elections gave them a mandate to roll back the health care law. “The Obamacare bridge is collapsing, and we’re sending in a rescue team,” said Senator Michael B. Enzi, Republican of Wyoming and the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. “Then we’ll build new bridges to better health care, and finally, when these new bridges are finished, we’ll close the old bridge.”
Although no specific replacement plan has been announced, the Washington Post ran a story that, in part, read – “President-elect Donald Trump insisted that repeal would not occur without a replacement plan. “Obamacare is the Democrats’ problem. We’re going to take the problem off the shelves for them. We’re doing them a tremendous favor,” Trump said.”
Democrats, however, voiced concern that a repeal could take place without a replacement plan to cover the roughly 20 million Americans who get their health coverage through the ACA. Reuters News wrote, “Democrats mocked the Republican effort, saying Republicans have never united around an alternative to Obamacare. “They want to kill ACA but they have no idea how they are going to bring forth a substitute proposal,” said Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.”
What do you think about these first steps in the process to repeal the nation’s health care law and how do you think it could affect people in our state? Do you believe there has to be a replacement plan before the law is scuttled? Generating conversations around the health issues making headlines will help us look for new ways to ensure better health for Arizonans. And the healthier we are – the closer we get to our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!