Obamacare Repeal Effort Nears Another Vote

Christopher Cheney, September 25, 2017

This week's anticipated Senate vote on a repeal-and-replace plan for the Affordable Care Act is likely the GOP's last chance to enact healthcare reform this year.

Earl Pomeroy
Earl Pomeroy

This week marks a major milestone in congressional efforts to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), a pair of beltway watchers says.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY), is maneuvering for a vote on repeal-and-replace legislation sponsored by Sen. Bill Cassidy, (R-LA), and Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-SC). The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hear testimony at 2PM Monday.

Earl Pomeroy, ex-president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners is a Democrat and a former US representative from North Dakota. He says the Cassidy-Graham legislation is the Republican Party's "last gasp" to repeal and replace the PPACA before the 2018 elections.

"There are many Republican senators who have committed to voting for the bill who have not had time to fully consider it. The bill is being driven by calendar, not content."

"At the end of the month," says Pomeroy, "the ability to pass health reform with 51 votes using the budget reconciliation vehicle of 2017 expires, because we move into the 2018 fiscal year."

The time pressure linked to the Senate calendar gives the Cassidy-Graham proposal a political push, he says. "It's now-or-never."

Cost Forecasting

The Cassidy-Graham Plan has not been scored by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. It aims to release a preliminary assessment this week. Others, such as Avalere, CMS, and the Kaiser Family Foundation have been weighing in.

This 11th-hour attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare is expected to result in health insurance and Medicaid coverage cutbacks equal to GOP legislation proposed earlier this year that would have cut more than 20 million people from healthcare coverage.

Christopher Cheney

Christopher Cheney is the senior finance editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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