Voting on the Future of Health(care)

It’s a procedural vote. Normally, this type of vote would generate little if any interest and attention. After all, the vote is to simply decide whether or not to begin debate on the health care overhaul that would take the place of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), widely known as Obamacare.

However, this procedural vote is clearly a bit different. The Washington Post tweeted earlier today – Analysis: 1 million jobs on the line as Senate votes on health care.

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And here’s the rub…..no one knows exactly what the Senate will be voting on. From TheHill.com:

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said early Tuesday that no one knows what healthcare plan the Senate will vote on later in the day.

“Let me give you a quick synopsis of what I know about the bill that we’re going to be voting on this afternoon,” King said during an interview on CNN’s “New Day,” before staring blankly ahead.

“I’m actually serious. There is no one who knows.”

King said he asked two senior Republicans last Thursday what the Senate would be voting on on Tuesday.

“They said, ‘We have no idea.’ I think it’s going to be the House bill, but then there may be a substitute amendment,” he said. “I’ve never seen a process like this. No hearings, no discussion.”

King called it a “complicated” issue.

“And to be talking about one-sixth of the U.S. economy and tens of millions of people, without any understanding of what the implications are, I really don’t understand it.”

John_McCainWhat we do know is that Arizona Senator John McCain is planning to return for the procedural vote. Senator McCain was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, but his office released a statement yesterday that read, “Senator McCain looks forward to returning to the United States Senate tomorrow to continue to working on important legislation, including health care reform, the National Defense Authorization Act, and new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea.”

So, what happens if the procedural vote passes? According to the New York Times, “Such a vote would start the debate in the Senate on health care. At some point, Mr. McConnell is expected to offer an amendment that would substitute a new measure for the text of the bill that passed the House. But it remains to be seen what that new measure would be. Republicans are trying to pass the bill using special budget rules that limit debate to 20 hours and prevent a Democratic filibuster.”

And if it fails, the Times wrote – “Republicans are not expected to abandon their repeal effort, but its future would appear bleak, at least in the short term.”

We will closely watch today’s proceedings and bring you the very latest information, with particular emphasis on how it may affect the people, patients and communities of Arizona. Generating meaningful dialogue 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 State in the Nation!

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