After seven years of promising to repeal and replace Obamacare that GOP effort died Monday night
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), made the official pronouncement of death for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Monday night at 10:25 p.m. The announcement came after two key members of the Republican led Senate announced they could no longer support the bill and that made it four hard no votes making it impossible for McConnell to bring the proposed legislation to the floor for a vote and killing the bill.
It marked a seven plus year effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, at least for now. The move to repair the ACA could be the next move sometime after the August Congressional recess.
“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” McConnell said in a late evening statement that essentially waved a white flag.
The death of the bill was sealed Monday night when Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee and Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas each announced they would vote “no” in an initial, critical vote that had been expected as soon as next week.
Their startling, tandem announcement meant with Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky already no votes on the bill, McConnell was at least two short of the 50 votes he needed to get the bill passed.
Not long after the announcement from Lee and Moran, the dam began to break as Sen. John McCain (R-Az.), announced that he was ready to move forward on a bipartisan health care bill, that was followed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) joining McCain in moving to work on a new bipartisan plan.
Today, there could be as many as 15 more members of the Republican led Senate ready to move away from this bill. It is highly unlikely that those same members of the Senate going forward on a clean repeal bill is very slim.
“There must be a replace with repeal,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) wrote in The Washington Post last week. At least 20 Republican Senators supported Cassidy’s position on the repeal and replace at the same time.
If they were to do just a repeal vote it is likely that members of both Congress and the Senate would get pummeled during the midterm elections.
McConnell’s failed bill would have left 22 million uninsured by 2026, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, a number that many Republicans found unpalatable. But the vetoed 2015 measure would be even worse, the budget office said last January, producing 32 million additional uninsured people by 2026 – figures that seemed likely to drive a stake into that bill’s prospects for passing Congress.
The Senate was under pressure to pass a very conservative bill that passed the House by just two votes. The death in the Senate might actually turn out to help the White House if they play it right.
The death of the Senate GOP health care bill gives President Donald Trump a real chance of helping to get behind a truly bipartisan bill. The bill that Trump was pushed to support was the most conservative bill in history, a bill that would have hurt the people in the swing states that won him the White House.
In the end, after seven plus years the Republican Congress and Senate realized repealing the ACA is not going to happen. There was too much of the ACA that they wanted to keep, coverage of preexisting conditions, allowing parents to keep their kids on their insurance plans until the age of 26, and even keeping some of the taxes in place made sense.
There were also the Republican governors who took Obamacare expansion money thought the Senate bill would devastating to their states. The group led by Ohio’s John Kasich, point blank told the White House and anyone else who would listen that the Medicaid cuts were too deep.
Now, there is a good chance that there will be a bipartisan plan that will have hearings, experts will be brought in for their impute. There is likely plenty of moderate Democrats willing to come to the table to repair the ACA.
Just last month Leader McConnell, kind of set up what comes next when he spoke to a Rotary Club lunch in Glasgow, Ky. He spoke candidly to his group of friends, saying that Republicans may have to turn to Democrats if they cannot pass their own bill, his words mark the first time he has explicitly raised the prospect of shoring up the ACA.
“If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private health insurance market must occur,” McConnell said. “No action is not an alternative. We’ve got the insurance markets imploding all over the country, including in this state.”
Maybe, McConnell, a savvy politician could see the writing on the wall and despite his asking for a clean repeal, something he can’t get, maybe he knows the next move is in a bipartisan way.
Quotes used in this story came from Associated Press.