What the GOP needs to do to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Posted On July 19, 2021
When the Republican Party won a Senate majority in 2017, it was clear that the health care law was in serious jeopardy.
The House had passed a repeal-and-replace bill in March and was set to pass the same bill in the Senate, but it failed to pass both chambers by a single vote.
The Senate was also in the midst of a repeal vote, but Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who is also an orthopedic surgeon, was blocked from moving forward by Senate Republicans from the right.
Now, Republicans in the House are trying to kill a measure that would have repealed parts of the ACA by a simple majority.
The bill would have given states the option of setting up state-based insurance exchanges to sell insurance plans that are more generous to lower-income Americans.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the AHCA would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion over the next decade and cut health care spending by $878 billion over 10 years.
But in the weeks leading up to the vote, the CBO estimated that it would add an additional $1.4 trillion to the deficit and $2.6 trillion to health care costs over the same period.
It would also lead to millions of people losing insurance, with a potential $1 trillion increase in the number of uninsured Americans.
Republicans also wanted to repeal the Medicaid expansion, which is funded through a tax on high-income people.
But the AHC would have allowed states to opt out of the expansion, and some Republicans in states that have expanded the program have expressed concern that the ACA would lead to states turning away many of their most vulnerable residents.
Republicans have said that if the AHA were to pass, they would try to repeal all of the provisions of the law that they say are bad for health care and people with preexisting conditions.
But as the CBO projected, the AHB would lead people with pre-existing conditions to be denied insurance.
The legislation was also opposed by the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians.
Republican leaders have said they were not worried about the potential negative consequences of the bill, but they do have concerns.
They also have not ruled out making major changes to the ACA if the CBO estimates prove to be incorrect.
What to expect on the Senate floor on Thursday: The Senate will debate the AHAs replacement bill on Thursday morning.
Senators will likely vote on the measure after it is introduced, which could lead to a filibuster.
If Republicans fail to pass a bill, they will then try to kill it.
The measure could be killed by the Senate by a filibuster-proof 60-vote threshold.
Republicans are trying hard to hold onto control of the Senate this year and are hoping to pass legislation to fund the government through Sept. 30, a deadline they are hoping will allow them to avert a government shutdown.
The Republican-controlled Senate voted on Friday to extend the federal government’s borrowing authority for an additional 90 days, and the House passed the measure by a vote of 257-191.