House Health Care Plan Formally Moves to Senate

Upper chamber expected to handle PPACA repeal with kid gloves

The Senate Committee on the Budget has ruled that the American Health Care Act passed on May 4 by the House of Representatives, providing for the repeal and replacement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), complies with the Senate reconciliation process. This means that the bill can now proceed to the upper chamber for consideration.

When the bill arrives, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has the ability to bring up the legislation under the provisions of reconciliation, which include a nondebatable motion to proceed that requires only a simple majority vote; no filibuster; time limits on overall debate, amendments, and motions; and the adoption of the legislation by a simple majority vote.

The Budget Committee’s approval may not matter all that much, however, as Senate Republican leaders have said they will be writing their own health care bill, although they may borrow some ideas from the House plan, according to a report from The Hill.

It’s likely, the report says, that the Senate will take a more-moderate approach compared with that of the House by delaying the end of the PPACA’s Medicaid expansion, by offering more protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and by beefing up tax credits for low-income and older Americans. 

Sources: Senate Budget Committee; June 6, 2017; and The Hill; June 7, 2017.