If Senate Republicans want to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) they have two choices to do so.
Since President Donald Trump had entered office, Republicans had one major policy goal in this session of Congress; to repeal-and-replace the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). For almost the last seven years, the GOP has campaigned on this single promise and now that they have control of the presidency, the House, and the Senate… the outcome of that looks incredibly uncertain.
Between the cloud that hangs over the Trump administration due to the Russian investigation and very real pushback from constituents on the subject of healthcare, there are very real questions whether a GOP healthcare bill has any chance of passing.
As we write this, the Senate GOP is currently bargaining/debating between introducing two Senate Republican healthcare bills to the floor. Here’s some background on both healthcare bills and their chances of passing.
(Update #1: We added the #3 Option that the Senate has, The Skinny Obamacare Repeal)
GOP Senate Bill #1: The Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act
What’s the Bill: It’s the Senate GOP’s plan to repeal the ACA for now and replace it with another healthcare law at a later date.
What’s in the Bill: The Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (or the ORRA) completely repeals the ACA and would repeal the ACA’s Medicaid expansion in 2020. As you may have guessed, this causes some major issues! The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the ORRA would increase insurance premiums by 25% and cut healthcare for 32 million people. More so, many insurance companies and healthcare experts worry that the ORRA, without having proper measures to stabilize the healthcare markets, could send the system into a “death spiral” (only the sickest individuals buying healthcare coverage, with the cost of coverage rising uncontrollably because of it)!
What Are the Chances of It Getting Passed: In all honesty, the ORRA looks to be completely dead. Many Senate Republicans look to be scared off by the potential “death spiral” that the ORRA could cause in the healthcare marketplaces. As of this writing, three GOP Senators are completely against the bill (Sen. Susan Colins of Main, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, and Lisa Murkowski of Arkansas), with more likely to join if it were to reach the Senate floor. However, there are some Republicans that would rather support a “repeal-only” healthcare law, so there is the possibility that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could put it for a vote to show that it would fail. That way, the hope would be for those GOP Senators to get behind the other Senate Republican healthcare bill; the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).
GOP Senate Bill #2: The Better Care Reconciliation Act
What’s the Bill: It’s the Senate GOP’s plan to repeal-and-replace the ACA.
What’s in the Bill: While we did go more in-depth with the bill in our 10-Point Expert, the basic gist of the bill is centered around cutting the nation’s healthcare cost on the federal government and giving states more power in deciding the public’s access to healthcare. One of the more controversial aspects of the BCRA is that it would cut the current ACA Medicaid expansion, which the CBO says would cause around 22 million individuals to lose healthcare coverage.
What Are the Chances of It Getting Passed: The chances of the BCRA passing is still up in the air. Right now, Sen. McConnell needs 50 votes to pass this measure in the Senate. Considering Senate Democrats are unified in not passing the BCRA (that’s 48 votes) and there are already two Republican Senators that oppose the bill no matter what – Sen. Susan Collins from Main and Sen. Rand Paul from Kentucky – Republicans can’t lose any more votes if they wish to get it passed! Even though it currently holds on by a razor-thin margin, if the GOP wants to pass healthcare legislation that replaces the ACA, the BCRA is their best bet.
GOP Senate Bill #3: The Skinny Obamacare Repeal
What’s the Bill: It’s essentially a legislative shell that has no language in it, but will work with the House AFTER THE VOTE to fill in the legislation.
What’s in the Bill: ¯_(ツ)_/¯
What Are the Chances of It Getting Passed: As of this writing, this is the best chance for Republicans to get some kind of healthcare legislation rolling. This has the best chance to break the 50 vote threshold so there can be talks to start floor debate on an ACA repeal bill. The only problem is no one knows what’s actually in the healthcare legislation. If this legislation becomes incredibly unpopular, even more so than the current GOP repeal bills, than this vote can be a problem for anyone running in the 2018 Midterms.
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