Senate GOP Aims for Obamacare Repeal Vote Next Week

Lawmakers to start reviewing bill in the next few days

Senate Republicans are preparing to vote on repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) next week, according to an article posted on the Politico website. Senators are expected to begin reviewing the text of the bill as soon as the end of this week.

That timeline could change based on the response from individual senators toward the proposal at party meetings, but GOP leaders are optimistic that they can hold a vote next week if this week’s lunch talks go well, the article says.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) tried to get Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to commit to allowing at least 10 hours to review the legislation before it comes to the floor for a vote, but McConnell wouldn’t commit to such a number.

“We’ll have ample opportunity to read and amend the bill,” he said.

Senator Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) remarked: “We had a month of debate [on the PPACA] in the United States Senate in 2009—that seems like a reasonable amount of time” for the GOP bill.

But Republicans threw the Democrats’ own history on health care back at them, arguing that Democrats deployed secretive techniques and the party-line budget reconciliation process to ultimately pass a portion of the PPACA into law.

“I hope they’ll have more time than we did on Christmas Eve when [former Senator Harry] Reid produced his bill,” said Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

Last week, Republicans discussed insurance-market stabilization in the short term as well as how to overhaul Medicaid and wind down its expansion, according to the article. One proposal would phase out the PPACA’s Medicaid expansion over three years beginning in 2020 or 2021 and would eventually curb the Medicaid growth rate more strictly than did the House-passed bill.

This week, Republicans will discuss how far to dismantle the PPACA’s regulatory regime and how much to beef up the House bill’s tax credits to help people buy health insurance. Conservatives want to gut the PPACA’s regulations as much as possible.

Source: Politico; June 19, 2017.