The vote to decide whether to debate the House’s health care legislation in the Senate could come as early as tomorrow. But, will that vote be about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or simply repealing it? And will there even be enough votes to get to the debate?
The Senate is voting this week on whether or not to open debate on the House’s health care bill, after legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, stalled in the Senate last week.
But several senators on Sunday appeared unclear on exactly which direction the Senate will go this week after they’ve been debating whether or not to repeal Obamacare and replace it later, or to repeal and replace in one push. Not enough Senators have been on board with either plan.
According to the Washington Post, “Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) indicated on Sunday that the majority party may not have enough support to prevail on even a first step — a routine vote to begin the floor debate. “We’re continuing to work with all of the members. We’re getting much closer to that,” Barrasso, one of the chamber’s few physicians, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Fox News pointed out that Republicans have very little margin for error, particularly with Arizona Senator John McCain now battling brain cancer.
Math is imperative on Capitol Hill. Republicans hold 52 of the Senate’s 100 seats. Various iterations of the health care package forced anywhere from less than a handful to perhaps as many as 10 Republicans to oppose starting debate on the bill. Republicans could lose only two votes on their side and ask Vice President Pence to break the tie.
But there’s new algebra with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., out due to brain cancer. Ninety-nine total senators and only 51 GOPers. The GOP can only lose one senator now and still advance a measure with 50 votes. Forty-nine kills it. That also means there’s no chance for the vice president to break a tie.
Further complicating matters was the recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report that indicated a repeal only bill would leave 32 million more people uninsured. TheHill.com wrote that a repeal only bill, “would also massively increase insurance premiums.”
According to the CBO, average premiums would increase by about 25 percent in 2018 alone. The increase would reach about 50 percent in 2020, and premiums would increase nearly 100 percent by 2026, CBO said.
Let us know what you think will happen in the Senate this week. And what, you believe, is in the best interest of the people, patients and communities of our state. Generating meaningful discussions around the important health issues making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest Sate in the Nation!