Another day, Another Vote

It’s one of those terms that many of us had never heard of as recently as a week ago. And now, ‘skinny repeal,’ is grabbing national headlines as the latest Republican strategy to get a health-care bill through the Senate.

From CBS News:

“Skinny,” in this instance, does not mean streamlined or efficient. Its meaning is more akin to “skin and bones,” the bare minimum that might slip by senators this week.

In theory, it would eliminate the individual mandate, which required Americans to buy health insurance, and it would also dispense with the requirement that employers with at least 50 full-time employees offer health care coverage.

The skinny repeal would also get rid of the tax on medical taxes, which helped pay for the ACA but is wildly unpopular with both Republicans and Democrats.

This comes on the heels of two failed efforts to generate enough votes for either a straight repeal or to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare.

According to Reuters, “The failures underscored the party’s deep divisions on the role of government in helping provide access to healthcare as the Senate conducted its second day of a freewheeling debate that could stretch through the week.”

Fox News pointed out how the rest of the week may now play out.

The debate on health care legislation is expected to end Thursday, when the allotted 20 hours are due to expire. The legislation is being debated under fast-track budget rules that allow the Senate to pass it on a simple majority instead of having to clear the 60-vote filibuster threshold required of other legislation.

Amendments can be offered after debate time has expired in a Washington ritual known as “vote-a-rama,” when amendment after amendment is voted on in what could be an all-night session on Thursday — with a final vote potentially taking place after midnight Friday.

Arizona Senator John McCain, who voted ‘no’ on yesterday’s repeal only plan, has already filed three amendments. According to AzCentral.com, “He (Sen. McCain) now has filed three amendments aimed at shielding the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program.State officials estimate the system would face an estimated $7.1 billion hit by the end of 2026 under the Senate GOP’s Better Care Reconciliation Act as originally envisioned.

“Arizona has been nationally recognized for running one of the most efficient and cost-effective Medicaid programs in the country,” McCain said in a written statement. “Any reform to our health care system must reward states like Arizona that are responsibly managing their health care services and controlling costs — not penalize them.

“My amendments would address the concerns raised by Governor Doug Ducey and other leaders across the state about the impact of current proposals on Arizona’s Medicaid system, and ensure our citizens who are most in need do not have the rug pulled out from under them.”

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) applauds Senator McCain and Governor Ducey for their efforts to make sure any new healthcare legislation is in the best interest of the patients, people and communities of Arizona. We too will continue to fight for a plan that addresses the needs and concerns of our state. Working together, with leaders like Senator McCain and Governor Ducey, will help us take an important step in our long-term goal to make Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

 

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