Senate Rejects Three ACA Repeal, Repeal-and-Replace Proposals

Health Reform Effort Not Dead, but on Hold, while Lawmakers Determine Next Move

At around 1 a.m. this morning, the U.S. Senate rejected the last of three proposals aimed at repealing, or repealing and replacing, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The effort is not technically dead—after the last repeal effort was defeated, Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pulled the pending ACA repeal-and-replace bill, the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA), rather than forcing a vote on it that appeared certain to fail.
 
There were four ACA proposals in play during the debate that began July 26 and concluded in the wee hours of the morning July 28:
  • The House-passed AHCA, the bill the Senate was attempting to amend
  • The McConnell-crafted Senate GOP version of ACA repeal-and-replace, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), as modified
  • An ACA repeal bill, modeled on the 2015 bill that then-President Obama vetoed, that would have repealed as much of the ACA as the filibuster-protecting reconciliation rules allowed, with a two-year delayed effective date to give Congress time to craft a replacement
  • A “skinny” ACA repeal bill that contained only seven provisions and was aimed as a way to get ACA repeal/repeal-and-replace to a House-Senate conference
Currently, it does not appear that the AHCA will come again to the Senate floor for a vote. But that could change. Ahead of and during the debate, Senate Democrats vowed to participate in a bipartisan effort to fix the ACA’s problems. And, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee said the HELP Committee would take up the ACA issue, starting with hearings, in an effort to find a bipartisan way to resolve pressing ACA issues. With the future of ACA repeal and replace unclear, NAIFA remains involved in the effort to make the ACA more workable. In response to a June 8 request for input from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), NAIFA submitted a comment letter outlining proposed changes to health care regulations under the ACA, and continues to work with Congress to support a workable solution to our health care problems, see our publication: Rx for Health Care: The Advisors' Perspective for details.
 
The defeat of the ACA repeal/repeal-and-replace effort frees lawmakers and the administration to turn their attention to their next pressing priority, a rewrite of the tax code. On July 27, key government officials (the “Big Six”—Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Chair Gary Cohn, Sen. McConnell, Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and House Ways & Means Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX)—released a statement of tax reform principles on which they are all united. The principles are widely viewed as vague (e.g., protecting American jobs and cutting tax rates as much as possible), but the statement also says Congress’ tax-writing committees (Finance and Ways & Means) will craft a tax reform bill based on these principles and move it through the legislative process “this fall.” The defeat of the ACA repeal/repeal-and-replace effort is seen as key to Congress successfully moving on to tax reform.

“As long as health care legislation and tax reform remain unresolved in Washington, NAIFA will continue to be fully engaged on the issues,” said NAIFA CEO Kevin Mayeux. “NAIFA’s advocacy mission will promote federal laws and regulations that recognize and protect the crucial role of advisors and the importance of insurance and retirement products in safeguarding the health and financial security of everyday Americans.”  

 
  • Posted July 28, 2017 IN


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