You may soon need a scorecard to keep up with everything going on in the Senate as it relates to the future of health care in our country. A lot happened yesterday and today promises to be no different.
The Senate voted narrowly on Tuesday to begin debate on a bill to repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, but hours later, Republican leaders suffered a setback when their most comprehensive plan to replace President Barack Obama’s health law fell far short of the votes it needed.
For Republicans, the failure ended the day on a sour note, hours after a more triumphant scene on the Senate floor. Lawmakers from both parties had risen to their feet in the afternoon and applauded when Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, showed up in the chamber despite his diagnosis of brain cancer. He cast a crucial vote in favor of opening what promises to be a freewheeling, hard-fought debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act.
So, what’s on tap today? According to USA Today, “The Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on an amendment that would repeal Obamacare that wouldn’t take effect for two years. The two-year delay is intended to give lawmakers time to come together on a replacement plan before people lose their health care.”
Depending on what happens with that vote, Business Insider explains what else we might see this week.
There’s also the chance of a “skinny repeal” bill, which would repeal certain aspects of the ACA and, if passed, lead to the House and Senate working together to compromise on one final bill.
Here’s a rough outline of where the process has been and goes from here:
- The Senate is in the midst of 20 hours of debate in legislative time. That’s split equally between Democrats and Republicans.
- During that time, there will be procedural votes on the different versions of healthcare legislation. Some of these would require 60 votes to pass, making them almost certainly doomed, since there are only 52 Republicans in the Senate. The revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Senate plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, failed to pass a 60-vote threshold in a procedural vote late Tuesday.
- There could be a series of amendments to the House healthcare legislation, including those from Democrats. Additionally, other healthcare legislation could be slotted in for a vote.
- Finally, members said Tuesday that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could try to push the Senate to pass a bundle of smaller amendments focused on repealing aspects of Obamacare, like the individual mandate and medical-device tax. If this effort is successful, the House and the Senate would flesh out a full replacement bill in a conference committee.
We will continue to track the latest developments throughout the week and keep you informed on what’s going on in with the health care debate and how that affects the people of our state. Generating meaningful dialogue around key health issues is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!