Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Senate Vote on Repeal and Replace Legislation Delayed

Drew Thies

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced Tuesday afternoon that a key vote on the chamber’s effort to reform health care will be delayed. The vote, originally planned for this week, is expected to be delayed until after the July 4th Congressional work period.

The “Better Care Reconciliation Act” was released last week after weeks of deliberation on the Senate’s version of the repeal and replace legislation. Senate leaders hoped to have a final vote on the bill before week’s end and send it to the House before the July 4th work period.

Multiple Senators expressed reservations with the bill prior to announcement on the delay. A group of four conservative Republicans said they did not think the bill did enough to repeal the underlying provisions in the Affordable Care Act. Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Susan Collins (R-ME) expressed concerns that the bill’s cuts were too severe.

The Senate bills differs significantly from the House bill on the issue of Medicaid funding for long term care services. The Senate bill changes the per-capita growth rate for the aged and disabled population and reduces provider taxes. The changes to the bill are estimated to cut federal Medicaid funding by 20 percent in 2025 and cut an average of $100,000 per building in states that use the provider tax program.

AHCA/NCAL advocates are still urged to call their Senators and let them know that this bill would be harmful to the long term care profession. AHCA/NCAL has an online advocacy portal and encourages all members to continue to contact lawmakers.

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