Senate says no to ‘skinny repeal’ healthcare bill version
The U.S. Senate was unable to garner enough votes overnight to pass a “skinny” version of a repeal and replace healthcare bill, leaving the proposed legislation dead in the water—for now. The vote, which took place in the wee hours Friday, would have repealed a few select parts of the Affordable Care Act, leaving much of the law in place.
In the 51-49 vote to reject, the dissenting Republicans were Sens. John McCain (Arizona), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine).
The latest repeal offering, nicknamed the “skinny repeal,” would have nixed the employer mandate for a minimum of eight years and would have eliminated the individual mandate altogether. Among other things, the bill also proposed giving states more flexibility in defining what constitutes an essential health benefit and where to set spending caps. However, the slimmed-down version of the bill left alone the current rule that insurers must not discriminate against consumers for pre-existing conditions.
The late-night attempt to gain passage would have left Medicaid and state Medicaid expansion alone and would not have cut the taxes on higher-income consumers and insurers. The current federal subsidies also would have been untouched.
“It’s time to move on,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor after the 1:30 a.m. vote. “This is clearly a disappointing moment,” McConnell added. “The American people are going to regret that we couldn’t find a better way forward.”
Democratic Minority Leader Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he looked forward to taking a bipartisan approach to healthcare reform. “It’s time to turn the page,” he said. “We are not celebrating. We are relieved.”
President Donald Trump expressed his disapproval at yet another failed attempt to pass healthcare reform in a 2:25 a.m. Tweet: “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”
After the vote, Sen. McCain denounced the lack of bipartisan cooperation on healthcare reform, calling single-party solutions a dangerous mistake. “We should not make the mistakes of the past that has led to Obamacare’s collapse, including in my home state of Arizona where premiums are skyrocketing and health care providers are fleeing the marketplace. We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”
See a list of what elements the “skinny repeal” would have included and not included, via CNN Money.
Pamela Tabar was editor-in-chief of I Advance Senior Care from 2013-2018. She has worked as a writer and editor for healthcare business media since 1998, including as News Editor of Healthcare Informatics. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Kent State University and a master’s degree in English from the University of York, England.
Topics: Executive Leadership , Medicare/Medicaid