Friday, July 28, 2017

Repeal and Replace Likely Dead - They'll Move to Assess and Amend Now; My Visit with Armstrong & Getty

Obamacare is still in place, but as usual, we'll be following any regulatory, legislative or political changes that impact large employers.
  • July 25: The Senate voted 51-50 on a procedural vote to open up debate on the next steps for  possible ACA repeal and replace measures.  VP Pence provided the tie breaker.  
  • July 26: The Senate voted on the repeal only Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA), which failed 45-55 with 7 Republicans voting against (Alexander-TN, Capito-WV, Collins-ME, Heller-NV, McCain-AZ, Murkowski-AK, and Portman-OH).
  • July 27 2:00 pm -The Senate voted in the afternoon on a single payer bill which failed 0-57  (see our article below).
  • July 27 6:00 pm - Four Senators, McCain, Graham, Cassidy and Johnson, hold a press conference to request the  Speaker of the House  give assurances that  a passed “skinny bill”  would be allowed to be the vehicle to go to conference for further deliberations. 
  • July 28 1:00 am - With a vote of 49-51, the “skinny bill” fails.  McCain, Murkowski and Collins vote NO. “We can’t make the same mistake we made in 2009,” McCain said.  “We’ve got to have Republicans and Democrats together.” Speaker McConnell expresses his disappointment as efforts to repeal the ACA collapse.
  • July 28 2:25 am – President Trump tweets “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let Obamacare implode, then deal. Watch!”
I was on Armstrong and Getty this morning discussing last night's vote.

We’ll continue to update you on pertinent developments.  Here is an overview from the media -

5 Ways White House Can Use Its Muscle To Undercut Obamacare
July 28, 2017 - California Healthline
Excerpt: "Obamacare faces a difficult political reality: Its marketplaces require active maintenance and federal support.  The White House can take a number of behind-the-scenes steps to sabotage the exchanges and hasten their undoing. It has been deploying some of those tactics for weeks now — even prompting a review from the Government Accountability Office to see if these actions are legal. Meanwhile, in a statement issued after Friday’s early-morning vote, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price reiterated the administration’s commitment to 'provide relief to Americans who are reeling from the status quo.'"
Senate Rejects Slimmed-Down Obamacare Repeal as McCain Votes No
July 27, 2017 – NY Times
Excerpt: “Unlike previous setbacks, Friday morning’s health care defeat had the ring of finality. After the result was announced, the Senate quickly moved on to routine business. Mr. McConnell canceled a session scheduled for Friday and announced that the Senate would take up the nomination of a federal circuit judge on Monday afternoon.”
Senate rejects measure to partly repeal Affordable Care Act, dealing GOP leaders a major setback
July 27, 2017 – Washington Post
Excerpt: “Their latest effort to redraw the ACA failed after Sen. John McCain’s decision to side with two other Republicans against President Trump and GOP leaders. The Arizona Republican, diagnosed with brain cancer last week, returned to Washington on Tuesday and delivered a stirring address calling for a bipartisan approach to overhauling the ACA, while criticizing the process that produced the current legislation.”
Obamacare Repeal Collapses as Senate GOP Blocks Health Bill
July 27, 2017 – Bloomberg
Excerpt: “It wasn’t immediately clear what the next steps would be for the Republicans. The repeal effort had appeared to collapse several times before, only to be revived. And several Republicans pleaded for their colleagues not to give up, even as President Donald Trump blasted the vote.”
GOP single-payer amendment fails in Senate
July 27, 2017 – The Hill
Excerpt: “Senators voted 0-57 on the amendment from GOP Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) to implement a government-funded healthcare system…But the amendment, part of a days-long debate on repealing and replacing ObamaCare, was widely expected to fail, with Democrats accusing GOP senators of putting up a "sham" proposal…The legislation from Daines uses the same language as a Medicare-for-all bill in the House sponsored by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.).”