2017-07-26 22:39:46 UTC

July 27, 2017

The Senate continues to vote on amendments to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The Senate is debating its effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which began with a procedural vote to allow the repeal debate to begin that required Vice President Mike Pence to break a tie vote.

The first vote that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, brought up for debate was the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), legislation that would repeal the ACA and replace it with a bill that implements changes to the Medicaid program, allows insurers to sell plans that don’t have to comply with ACA requirements and expands health savings accounts (HSAs). The BCRA, crafted by McConnell, was rejected by the Senate by a vote of 43-57 with nine Republicans joining all Democrats. 

The Senate also rejected a Republican amendment that would repeal the ACA and give Congress two years to come up with a viable replacement. 

The Senate will continue to vote on amendments to the American Health Care Act, legislation that was passed by the House in May that would repeal the ACA. Next, the Republicans will try to bring up a “skinny repeal,” which would repeal the individual mandate, the employer mandate and the medical device tax. If those provisions pass, it would bring the bill to a conference committee with the House, which is the goal to keep trying to move forward with an ACA repeal. It is uncertain at this point whether the Senate will be successful, but leadership continues to bring up amendments that they believe can pass and help move to a conference committee.

AGA remains concerned that the process of repeal and replace has not gone through regular order with committee hearings and mark-ups and that relevant stakeholders, like physician organizations, have not been part of the process. We are concerned that patients will lose health care coverage and/or will not have access to specialty care. We strongly believe that patients should be ensured key protections like not discriminating against patients with pre-existing conditions, no lifetime caps, access to specialty care and coverage of preventive screenings without cost-sharing. We will continue to monitor this process and speak for our patients. 

Review AGA’s statement to learn more, and then contact your legislator. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask the operator to connect you with the senators from your state and tell them:

  • Your name and hometown.
  • That you urge the senator to oppose any repeal and replace legislation that results in lost coverage, lack of access to specialty care or loss of coverage of preventive services.

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