WASHINGTON D.C. — A second attempt by Senate Republicans to sponsor and pass health care legislation has failed as Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and John McCain (R-AZ) in announcing their decision to vote “no” should the bill reach the floor.
Local advocates of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, like Twila Brase, president at Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom state Republicans, believe GOP leadership did not do enough to gain broad support.
“The Senate bill failed because GOP leadership didn’t actually try to repeal the law. Unless the bill is a full repeal of the ACA, there will always be quibbling over the details of what stays, what goes and what gets more or less money,” Brase told Alpha News. “GOP leadership was just pretending to push a repeal bill and were likely following the requests of their biggest donors, such as the health plans who were given the entire market in the law and now just want a continual annual stream of bailouts from taxpayers (e.g (cost-reduction subsidies, redistribution funds).”
The Graham-Cassidy bill, named after chief authors Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), created controversy from the get-go.
For Brase, the bill did not differentiate itself enough from the Affordable Care Act.
“If they don’t repeal the ACA they should at least do things that provide escape hatches from Obamacare coverage: repeal the individual and employer mandates, and repeal the nationwide prohibition against affordable catastrophic coverage,” Brase said. “The ACA prohibits the sale of major medical indemnity plans to anyone over the age of 29. Approximately 6 million people lost their policies as a result of that prohibition. It also snuffed out the health plans’ competitors.”
According to POLITCO, the bill would eliminate medicaid expansion, cost-sharing subsidies, tax credits, and individual and employer mandates. The bill would use funding from the tax credits and medicaid expansion to create block grants to send back to states. However, many states are expected to lose billions of dollars.
Minnesota is expected to lose an estimated $32 billion in the next 10 years should the Graham-Cassidy bill have passed, Alpha News reported.
However, Republicans still have time to help President Donald Trump keep one of his key campaign promises of “repeal and replace.”
“The 2018 elections are key,” David Schultz, a Professor at Hamline University told Alpha News. “This failure is not the end. Republicans still have a chance to repeal and replace before the 2018 elections, but if Democrats were to recapture the Senate then they have lost that chance.”
Failure to pass health care reform could impact Republicans’ chances of remaining in control in 2018, Schultz notes, but the real harm to Republicans isn’t necessarily 2018.
“So long as the GOP remains divided between hard right and moderates it does not appear that they have the consensus and votes to move health care or any other major reforms,” Schultz said.