Health Care Future Outlook

Sunday, 30 Jul, 2017

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, has promised bipartisan hearings to come up with an emergency solution, saying senators have a "responsibility" to help those "who may literally have no options to purchase health insurance in 2018 and 2019". Three Republicans, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine) and John McCain (Ariz.), joined with Democrats to kill it.

On Friday, despite personal pleas from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, McCain cast the decisive vote against the Health Care Freedom Act, causing audible gasps in the Senate chamber. He said it also would have provided more flexibility to states in providing medical care to low-income Americans and repeals the medical device tax for three years while increasing the amount of money that people can contribute to Health Savings Accounts.

At the moment Democrats are willing to talk major changes to the ACA, including dropping the idea of "single payer", if the Republicans will stop the idea of repeal.

Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas says addressing them in the tax bill would mean higher tax rates for families and local businesses.

"We are not celebrating", he said.

And then, in typical McCain fashion, he took to the floor and blasted both the Senate's draft health care bill and the process that produced it. That's what happens when the House and the Senate pass two different versions of a piece of legislation, and so the Senate would essentially be voting for something they don't really like just so they can set in motion the process of working with the House on a bill that's actually good. They would wind down enhanced federal funding for Medicaid expansion and would send a fixed amount of money to states for the overall program.

"The American people are going to regret that we couldn't find a better way forward". GOP leaders would then undoubtedly tell Republican senators and House members that if they had the temerity to vote no, they should expect to be pummeled for months (or years) for enshrining Obamacare as a permanent piece of law - and to expect to face well-funded primary challengers.

Trump had called via Twitter over recent weeks for Republicans to "step up to the plate" and keep their promise to repeal Obamacare, writing repeatedly that it was up to them to get it done.

Moran did just that, casting one of the final votes for the bill around 2 a.m.

These provisions, which are part of the GOP's failed repeal and replace bill, could still be added to whatever healthcare bill Congress passes.

With but a two-vote majority, they can only spare two defections. As Senate Republican leaders have made clear, their goal in advancing the "skinny repeal" is simply to pass something that will advance health legislation to a conference with the House, which passed its own repeal-and-replace bill in May. "Now is not the time to leave American health care at risk". "Give America great healthcare!"

The Kentucky lawmaker added: "It's time to move on".

Later in the morning, Trump said that any future Obamacare repeal efforts should be passed with 51 votes, not 60, suggesting he doesn't agree that Democratic support is necessary.