Senate Rejects First GOP Healthcare Bill After Narrowly Approving Motion To Proceed

Senate Rejects First GOP Healthcare Bill After Narrowly Approving Motion To Proceed
Coverage of the Senate’s vote to proceed to debate on measures to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act focuses on how close the vote was, with only the return of Sen. John McCain and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence making it possible. Most of the coverage of the vote is centered on McCain’s dramatic return, as well as his speech criticizing the process and warning that he does not support the legislation itself as it stands. The early coverage of the close vote is superseded by the first vote on new legislation itself, which failed by a wide margin.

Reuters (7/25, Oliphant) reports, “In a first vote of the many likely to come this week, the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare that Senate Republicans have been working on for months failed” on a vote of 43-57. It would have needed 60 votes to advance. The Los Angeles Times (7/25, Mascaro, Bennett) reports that Republicans “quickly shot down what was once their leading proposal for repealing and replacing” the ACA. Roll Call (7/25, Williams) reports that the measure included an amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz “that would have allowed insurers to offer plans that are noncompliant with the current requirements in the health care law, so long as they offer a compliant option,” as well as an amendment from Sen. Rob Portman “that would have, among other things, poured an additional $100 billion into a state stability fund.”

The Hill (7/25, Carney) reports that the bill “was widely expected to fail.” Bloomberg News (7/25, Litvan, Dennis) reports that the Senate is now expected to vote Wednesday “on an amendment similar to an Obamacare repeal bill passed in 2015 by the Senate” but vetoed by President Obama. That proposal “is also expected to fail, and it will be followed by a number of other proposals.”

Politico (7/25, Diamond) reports that Senate Majority Leader McConnell may instead push “a ‘skinny repeal’ plan that would leave major parts [of the ACA] intact while knocking out its mandates, but also allow the Senate to move a repeal bill to conference with the House if they can’t agree on a more comprehensive measure.” However, the New York Times (7/25, Sanger-Katz) writes, “many independent analysts have concluded that, without a mandate, health insurance would become more expensive and cover fewer people.” And while GOP leaders “have assailed the health law’s large tax increases” and “complained about Obamacare’s burdensome insurance regulations,” this option would repeal just one tax and leave the regulations in place.

Politico (7/25, Shepard) reports that a new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds that “just 36 percent of voters support repealing Obamacare without a replacement,” while 50 percent are opposed.