Capito votes against straight repeal of ACA

Posted July 28, 2017

NBC's Leigh Ann Caldwell: "Senate Republicans delivered another blow in their effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act when they failed to pass a repeal of the Obama-era law on Wednesday afternoon".

The state waivers would have built on an existing Obamacare program that allows states to pursue their own health care plans.

More moderate GOP senators have said they fear repealing without an immediate replacement because it could generate even more uncertainty in the American insurance market. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, John McCain, R-Ariz., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. But there has been a lot of hesitation among Republicans for "repeal" without a plan for "replace".

The text of the legislation mirrors a bill that the Senate passed in 2015 that President Obama then vetoed.

Next comes a vote-a-rama on an unlimited number of amendments before an expected final vote sometime late Thursday or Friday on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's ultimate plan.

With two legislative approaches having been rejected by Republicans - the comprehensive measure and then the repeal-only measure - Democrats were left wondering what exactly Republican leaders were cooking up and how they could reasonably expect senators to vote on that legislation in just a day or two.

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"I know members in both parties have health care ideas they'd like to offer", he said.

Every senator, Republican and Democrat alike, will now have a virtually unlimited opportunity to debate and offer amendments to help put together a health care bill that helps Americans.

A new "skinny repeal" plan emerged this week. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office recently found that this bill would push 32 million Americans into the ranks of the uninsured over the next decade, include 17 million Americans just within the next year.

The Senate took up a bill passed earlier by the House, legislation that President Donald Trump praised in a Rose Garden ceremony before calling the bill "mean". That didn't stop McCain from giving a long speech right after his vote about how the Senate must return to its procedural norms.

It's true these bills would have failed with or without Gardner's support, but neither met our test for the type of meaningful, measured reform of Obamacare we hoped to see from Republicans this year. It went further than other Republican proposals in terms of repealing the law. But Senate Republicans are scrambling to pull together any health care bill that can win 50 votes - and the parliamentarian's decision could make it impossible for Republicans to add a provision that would let states waive Obamacare's rules to their final bill. That's a very bad sign for Republicans who support repeal and some kind of replacement.

Instead, this "skinny" bill would simply repeal the individual mandate, which penalizes people who don't obtain insurance, while also eliminating a tax on the medical device industry and a requirement that employers provide coverage to employees. Under the complex rules governing how the legislation is being considered, the debate will culminate at some point Thursday afternoon or evening in a freaky exercise called a "vote-a-rama" during which unlimited amendments can be offered by all sides in rapid succession.