A quick explainer on everything up to date for the Republican ACA repeal and replace effort.
Republicans have been threatening the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, before it even passed into law in 2010. Seven years and several failed attempts later, the Senate Republicans are one step closer to making good on their threats. Yesterday the Senate voted 51-50 to begin debate on an Obamacare repeal plan. All 48 Democrats voted against the motion; while all but two Republicans voted in favor of the motion, including Senator John McCain who is being treated for a fatal form of brain cancer that was discovered thanks to taxpayer-provided health insurance. Only two Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, joined Democrats in voting against the motion.
Now that the procedural motion has passed, Senators will begin debating. There are and were three proposals up for Senate consideration: 1) Better Care Reconciliation Act (BRCA) which would have taken healthcare insurance away from 22 million people, 2) Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA) which would repeal and not replace, leaving 32 million without healthcare insurance, and 3) ”Skinny Repeal” which would leave most of the ACA in place but would eliminate a tax and the mandates on employers and individuals. BRCA failed with a 43-57 vote.
Each party will receive 10 hours of floortime for debate. During this time, Senators will take turns making speeches about healthcare. The 20 hours will likely stretch over the span of a few days. After the 20 hours is complete, a series of amendments will be added to the original bill. Each amendment requires 51 votes to be approved and must be relevant to healthcare. Once all approved amendments are added, majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, will offer a final bill, which will encompass the plan Senate Republicans want to pass. The final bill will go up for a vote; it will need 51 votes to pass. In the event of a tie, Vice President Mike Pence can vote.
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