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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Why the Congressional Recess May Kill GOP Healthcare Bill


We’re back!

The Senate, however, is not…and that may be a bad thing for the GOP’s Affordable Care Act (aka ACA aka ObamaCare) replacement bill.

A Vote Delay for a Holiday
Earlier this week, a lot of us got a quick, mid-week holiday for the Fourth of July. For Congress, who has a week-long recess (July 3rd-7th) in honor of Independence Day, that holiday is still going on. And happening with it is waning support for the Senate GOP healthcare bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA).

Last week, Senate Republican leaders announced they’d postpone voting on BCRA until after the July 4th recess. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a strong supporter of BCRA, tried to be optimistic about this announcement, insinuating more time to make changes to the bill may sway reluctant GOP senators to vote in its favor.

Well the Recess Isn’t Helping
We’ve mentioned before that the BCRA doesn’t need any Democratic support to pass, so long as 50 of the 52 Republican senators vote in favor of it. But McConnell is having a hard time during the recess convincing the now 12 Republican senators who have issues with the bill to vote yea. In fact, within hours of the postponement announcement, 3 Senate GOP members came out as “no” votes.

The Senate Republicans, back home for the holiday, are getting an earful of opposition for the bill from the people they represent. Public opposition is making it very difficult for senators against the bill, as well as those on the fence, to be convinced to vote yes.

But Senate Republicans Sure Are Trying
McConnell, along with Senate leadership, is taking the recess to engage rank-and-file members about potential changes that could be made to the bill. There have also been discussions with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on changes that can be made quickly to improve the score of a revised Senate bill (initial analysis found 22 million more people would be uninsured by 2026).

Of course, fixing things and making changes might be a little easier for McConnell if senator opposition didn’t have such a wide range. On the one hand, Texas, Utah, Kentucky, and Wisconsin senators say the new legislation doesn’t go far enough in repealing ACA regulations. Meanwhile, representatives of Nevada, West Virginia, Ohio, and other states have serious reservations about the proposed cuts to Medicaid funding, as well as opioid addiction treatment funding.

So What Will They Do?
Senate Majority Leader McConnell is trying to hold a vote on the new legislature - including any changes that may happen over the next few days - as soon as possible after the July 4th recess ends.

So be sure to stay tuned with ACAwise as we help you keep track of and up-to-date on the changing healthcare laws! While we’re at it, we’ll even help you stay ACA compliant, since it is still technically the law and all. And if you have any questions regarding ACA compliance and e-filing, don’t hesitate to reach out to us - we’re always happy to help!

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