Senate GOP Staff to Draft Health Care Bill During Recess

It’s déjà vu all over again

Senate Republican staff members will be working on their own legislation to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) during the upcoming recess, according to an article posted on the Politico website. The week-long Senate hiatus will begin on Monday, May 29.

The House narrowly passed a revised bill to dismantle the PPACA earlier this month. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently projected that the revised legislation would result in 23 million more uninsured Americans over a decade (2017–2026) but would cut the deficit by $119 billion.

Senate Budget Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) told Politico that enough decisions have been made “in some areas” of policy to start writing the bill. GOP lawmakers, however, still fail to see eye-to-eye on much of the repeal process. Legislative hurdles include how aggressively to control Medicaid spending; when to begin rolling back the PPACA’s Medicaid expansion; which PPACA provisions to eliminate; and how to control insurance premiums or address coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) said GOP leadership has spent significant time gathering a variety of opinions and that it is time to write a bill.

“Leadership is going to spend this recess trying to develop a product [so] that we will have a base of a Senate bill, based on all these discussions, based on what the House did, based on the CBO score,” he said. “I’m happy to let the leadership craft a bill so that we can use that as the next step. When we come back, hopefully we [will] have something to look at, and we’ll continue the debate.”

Source: Politico; May 25, 2017.