Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Senate Pulls Repeal and Replace Vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that the Senate would not vote on the Graham-Cassidy legislation, the latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Chances of passage were dealt a significant blow earlier this week when Susan Collins (R-ME) announced she would join her fellow Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky in opposition to the bill. Republicans could only afford to have two defections and still reach the 50-vote threshold for passage, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie.

The Graham-Cassidy bill cut billions from the Medicaid program by instituting population-based per-capita caps and cutting the allowable provider tax rate from six to four percent.

AHCA/NCAL advocates sent hundreds of thousands of letters to Capitol Hill asking lawmakers to preserve Medicaid funding for long term care during the repeal and replace process, including over 13,000 in the last week alone.

Senate Republicans revived repeal and replace efforts in recent weeks due to an announcement from the Senate parliamentarian that the budget reconciliation window will close on at the end of the fiscal year, September 30. The budget reconciliation process allows Senators to pass legislation with a simple 50-vote majority, rather than the 60-vote supermajority needed to avoid a filibuster.

Despite the current budget reconciliation window closing at the end of the month, Republicans said repeal and replace efforts will not conclude. Many Republicans have suggested they would like to use the next fiscal year’s budget to pursue tax reform, but there is nothing procedural stopping Republicans from reviving repeal efforts in the future.

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