Ding, dong, the bill is dead—or is it?
Well, actually, although a postmortem might be a bit premature, the odds aren’t looking good for a repeal-only Republican effort to kill the Affordable Care Act.
The Hill reports that the blood—er, ink—wasn’t even dry on the most recent failed attempt by the Senate to repeal and replace former President Obama’s signature health care law (last night two additional Republican senators announced they would not vote for the bill) when Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader, proposed a repeal-only bill, essentially the same as one that had been passed two years earlier by Congress at a time when they knew it had no chance of being signed into law under Obama’s watch.
But it’s not just McConnell calling for it—the Huffington Post reports that Trump tweeted an exhortation to Republicans to “just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!”
Democrats, by the way, say no, they won’t.
In addition, two Republican senators have already declared that they won’t support a repeal-only bill.
Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, and Susan Collins, R-ME, have denounced a repeal-only effort as “creat[ing] great uncertainty for individuals who rely on the [Affordable Care Act] and caus[ing] further turmoil in the insurance markets,” Collins says in the report.
Collins also is advocating for “hearings to examine ways to fix the many flaws in the ACA so that it will work better for all Americans.”
Even though this latest effort at repeal would postpone cessation of the ACA for two years, Capito says in the report that she has concerns about what would happen to her state’s Medicaid expansion and combating opioid addiction, and is quoted saying, “All of the Senate healthcare discussion drafts have failed to address these concerns adequately.”
And while other Republican senators have voiced support for the measure, Sen. John Thune, R-SD, is quoted saying in the report, “We’ll now have to go through the exercise of sort of re-whipping this, because we are using live ammunition. You know, when we had this 18 months ago in 2015, we had a Democrat president that everybody knew would veto the bill.”
Repeal of the ACA without replacement could drop 18 million from the ranks of the insured the very next year, according to a Congressional Budget Office evaluation.
But it wouldn’t stop there: Elimination of Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies would then kick another 27 million people off insurance, and then 32 million by 2026.