Senate Republicans tried and failed earlier this year to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Instead of humbly accepting defeat, the GOP has come back swinging, this time with a bill that would be even worse than the solutions proposed over the summer.
The authors of the proposed bill, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), are trying to secure a vote by the end of next week.
The Congressional Budget Office has said that it will not be able to fully analyze the bill before the September 30 deadline that Graham and Cassidy are hoping for, meaning that, if voting takes place, senators will be participating without fully understanding the possible effects of the bill. However, Graham and Cassidy are insisting on the deadline anyways, in order to make it easier for the bill to pass.
The New York Times explained the importance of the Senate voting by that time as follows:
‘If the Senate does not vote by the end of next week, it will become nearly impossible to repeal the law because the drive to kill the Affordable Care Act will lose the procedural protections that allow it to pass the Senate with a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes that would otherwise be needed.’
The bill, like its failed predecessor, would cut the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion entirely and make it possible for states to undermine protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, thus causing millions of Americans to lose their health insurance.
The Los Angeles Times has pointed out that healthcare experts have had almost nothing positive to say about the bill since it was first introduced.
Fitch Ratings, a group that monitors the fiscal condition of states issuing bonds, said the bill would be “more disruptive for most states than prior Republican efforts.”
The group also found that “states that expanded Medicaid access to the newly eligible population under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are particularly at risk under this latest bill.”
The bill’s only proposed replacement for all of the cuts it would make is a capped blocked grant for each state. The Los Angeles Times aptly described it as a “repeal-and-no-replace bill.”
Over the last few days, Graham and Cassidy have said that they’re close to reaching the number of votes necessary for the bill to pass. However, they’re still a bit short. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has said that he will vote “no” on the bill because it’s actually not conservative enough for him. Meanwhile, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who voted against this summer’s repeal attempt, are not expected to support it either.
Senator John McCain, who also voted against the last attempt, expressed misgivings about the bill during an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday:
‘Why did Obamacare fail? Obamacare was rammed through with Democrats’ votes only. That’s not the way to do it. We’ve got to go back. If I could just say again, the way to do this is have a bill, put it through committee.’
However, McCain will also surely face pressure from Arizona Governor Ducey, who praised the bill in a statement posted to Twitter Monday morning:
Ducey’s constituents, for the most part, disagreed:
Hopefully, McCain will listen to the people of Arizona rather than succumbing to pressure from Ducey and his fellow Republicans. Once again, his vote may be the one that makes the difference for millions of people.
Featured image via Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.