- The Second
180 Days « July 2017 - The Senate Effort to
Repeal Obamacare Stalls
How the Effort to Repeal Obamacare Stalled in the Senate
Repeal or repeal and replacement of the
Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) proved to be a
challenge for Republicans, who have made repealing the
measure a mantra for years. Although Republicans controlled the
White House and both
houses of Congress, the debate revealed ideological divisions
between conservatives who wanted to tear out every last vestige of the
ACA and more moderate members concerned about the effects such
actions could have. What is most extraordinary was the ad hoc way
in which the effort was conducted; legislation was developed in secret,
no hearings were held and there was a
"pass something, anything" mentality.
The House bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), marked the first big legislative battle for Republicans. While President Trump and Speaker Ryan worked hard to move the legislation, labeled by some as "Trumpcare," members of the House Freedom Caucus and conservatives were skeptical of "Obamacare lite." The vote was initially set for March 23 and then postponed to March 24. On the afternoon of March 24, shortly before the vote was to occur, Ryan pulled the bill (+). Following more negotiations and adjustments House Republicans passed a revised version of the legislation in a 217-213 vote on May 4, with 20 Republicans joining 193 Democrats in opposition (+).
In the Senate, after a 13-man working group drafted their bill in secrecy, Republican leadership released a discussion draft ‘‘Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017’’ on June 22. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pressed for a vote before summer recess, but divisions among Republicans forced him to hold off until after the July 4 holiday (+). McConnell said he would delay the Senate's August recess for two weeks in an effort to move a bill. However, Republicans' narrow majority in the Senate provided little room for error. Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Rand Paul (KY) said they would not support the bill, putting it on the edge, Sen. John McCain (AZ) was away from Washington for surgery, and on July 18 Sens. Mike Lee (UT) and Jerry Moran (KS) said they too opposed the bill. On July 17 Trump tweeted, "Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!" But the repeal-only strategy had significant opposition.
McConnell pressed ahead with a very high profile, closely watched, too close to call vote on a motion to proceed on July 25. Vice President Mike President Mike Pence, who had been leading the White House's efforts on the issue, cast the deciding vote. Later in the evening, the Senate rejected an amended version of the repeal and replace Better Care Reconciliation Act by a vote of 43 yes to 57 no. On July 26 the Senate rejected a "clean repeal." The Senate then considered various amendments leading to the decisive vote in the wee hours of the morning of July 28 on "skinny repeal." Sen. McCain joined Sens. Collins and Murkowski and all Democrats voting against the measure.
July 21 | July 24 | July 25 (before) | July 25 (after) | July 26 | July 27 | July 28
REMARKS BY VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE AND HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY DR. TOM PRICE AT A ROUNDTABLE WITH GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS CALLING FOR SENATE ACTION ON HEALTHCARE
The Vice President’s Ceremonial Office1:11 P.M. EDT
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: On behalf of the President, welcome to the White House.
I’m truly honored to be able to welcome organizations that literally represent millions of Americans and millions of businesses back here to the White House at such a critical time in our efforts to rescue the American people from the disastrous policies of Obamacare.
I’m grateful to be joined by groups ranging from the Chamber of Commerce and NFIB, to Concerned Women for America, the National Taxpayers Union, American Conservative Union, Club for Growth and the like. But thank you to each and every one of you for the way your organizations have stepped forward to make the case to the American people that we can repeal and replace Obamacare with policies that are built on freedom, that are built on state-based reform, and that will give the American people access to the world-class healthcare that they need and deserve.
As we gather today, we are just a few days away from a critical vote in the Congress, a vote to begin the debate on the repeal and replace of Obamacare. And President Trump and I are urging every member of the United States Senate to vote to begin this debate.
Every one of the groups that are gathered here today -- the millions that you represent -- are here to speak with one voice to say to the Congress: It’s time to vote. It’s time to act. It’s time to get on with a debate to repeal and replace Obamacare.
As President Trump said when members of the Senate gathered here at the White House just a few short days ago, inaction is not an option. And frankly, as the President said, any senator who doesn't vote to begin the debate is essentially telling the American people that they're fine with Obamacare.
And that's just not acceptable because we all know the truth. Obamacare is collapsing all across the country as we speak. It’s putting a burden on working families and American taxpayers and job creators all across this nation.
We all remember the broken promises of Obamacare. I have Dr. Price here. He and I were both members of Congress when the debate over Obamacare happened in the Congress seven years ago. I can still hear those promises ringing in my ears, can't you? If you like your doctor, you can keep them -- not true. If you liked your health insurance, you can keep it -- not true. The cost of health insurance would go down if Obamacare passed -- not true.
We all know the facts. Even though we were promised that families would save $2,500 a year in premiums if Obamacare became law, according to our analysis at HHS, the average Obamacare plan today costs nearly $3,000 more than a plan did as recently as 2013. While premiums are soaring, choices are plummeting. Next year at least 40 percent of American counties, including nine entire states, will have only one choice of a health insurance provider, which is essentially no choice at all. And in many jurisdictions around the country, there’s not even one choice. So the time has come for Congress to act.
The President and I are truly grateful to the organizations represented around here for lending your voices -- voices for working families, voices for businesses large and small -- to our effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. And we just urge you in the days that remain between now and this vote early next week to reach out to people across this country and let them know that we're close. We literally are just a few votes away from beginning a debate that will repeal and replace Obamacare in the United States Senate.
Congress needs to step up. Congress needs to do their job. And every member of the United States Senate should vote to begin the debate to rescue the American people from the disastrous policy of Obamacare, and we're grateful for your support.
With that, I want to recognize the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Tom Price, for this thoughts on this moment.
And let me just say this is a historic moment. For seven years, the American people have seen the broken promises of Obamacare, and we are just days away and a few short moments and just a few votes away from being able to keep a promise that every Republican in the Senate, every Republican in the House has made to the American people.
And our message today, our message to each one of you and the groups that you represent is make sure the American people know that it’s time for Congress to act. And it’s time for the American people to let their voice be heard. There is no voice more powerful in Washington, D.C. than the voice of the American people.
SECRETARY PRICE: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. You’re right, it is an historic moment. This is an historic room, and this an historic time for the American people and for your organizations.
I just want to thank you -- lend my echoing words of the Vice President -- but to thank each and every one of you for the productive and positive discussion and action that you have brought about over the past number of months. Time is of the essence. The fact is that the American people deserve and demand that Washington addresses their problems and their challenges, and this is a challenge that is not unknown to anybody who has been paying attention at all. And that is that the American people desire that healthcare be in the hands of people, in the hands of patients and their families and doctors -- not in the hands of Washington, D.C. That’s what this is all about.
There are decisions that will be made over the next few weeks in states all across this land about what 2018 looks like from an insurance standpoint, and the decision that is made in the next few days in this town will dictate and determine what those decisions will be. So as people are wont to say, this problem demands an act of Congress, and so it’s an act of Congress that must happen. And we, once again, just can’t thank you all enough for being that positive and productive influence on this discussion and this debate.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Tom. Let’s send a very clear message in the days ahead that the beginning of the end of Obamacare is when Congress votes to start the debate on a bill that will repeal and replace this disastrous policy.
Early next week, every Republican in the Senate will be called upon to vote to begin the debate, and we urge each and every one of you on all the platforms that you have and all the millions of Americans that you reach to make sure every American knows that every Republican in the Senate should vote to begin the debate. Because once we begin the debate, the President and I are confident, working with all of you, working with the majority in the United States Senate that we will pass legislation out of the Senate, we will move this legislation forward, and we will rescue the American people from the disaster of Obamacare.
So let’s go to work. Thank you all very much.
END 1:19 P.M. EDT
Ed. - According to the pool report the meeting included:
Penny Nance, Matt Schlapp, Marjorie Dannenfelser, Rachel Slobodien, David Christensen, Brendan O'Morchoe, Pete Sepp, as well as Neil Bradley from the Chamber of Commerce, and a representative from NFIB.
American Medical Association
July 21, 2017
AMA Urges Senate to Reject Efforts to Repeal or Replace ACA
Calls on senators to initiate bipartisan discussions to improve health care systemCHICAGO –The American Medical Association (AMA) today outlined its opposition to current efforts in the U.S. Senate aimed at replacing or repealing the Affordable Care Act, citing the loss of affordable coverage for millions of patients.
The full text of the letter is below and can be downloaded in pdf format here.
Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:
On behalf of the physician and medical student members of the American Medical Association, (AMA) we urge the Senate to reject efforts to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act. Recent revisions do not correct core elements that will lead to millions of Americans losing health insurance coverage with a resulting decline in both health status and outcomes.
In numerous communications this year, we have urged Congress to approach reform of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a manner consistent with a number of key objectives. These objectives, embedded in AMA policy and ratified by the representatives of the more than 190 state and national medical specialty organizations represented in the AMA House of Delegates, have formed the basis for AMA consideration of reforms to our health care system. Among these priorities are efforts to ensure that those currently covered do not become uninsured; the preservation of key insurance market reforms and efforts to stabilize and strengthen the individual insurance market; ensuring that low and moderate income patients are able to secure affordable and meaningful coverage; and the provision of adequate funding for Medicaid and other safety net programs.
Unfortunately, neither the proposed “Better Care Reconciliation Act” (BCRA) nor the “Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act” (ORRA) adequately addresses these key concerns. Each bill results in millions more Americans without health insurance coverage, weakened markets, less access to affordable coverage and care, and the undermining of funding for state Medicaid programs. Furthermore, while efforts have been made to improve the bill through provisions such as supplemental funding to address opioid abuse and market stability funding, these investments are made necessary because of the reduced health insurance coverage and weakened markets brought about by the underlying legislation.
Senators from both sides of the aisle have expressed interest in pursuing remedies to stabilize the individual market and foster greater availability and choice of health plans. We urge Congress to take this initial step. Longer term, stakeholders and policymakers need to work in concert to address the challenge of unsustainable trends in health care costs. The AMA is ready to work on both short and long-term solutions.
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act and the 21st Century Cures Act are recent examples of what can be accomplished to improve the health of the nation when Congress works in a bipartisan fashion and with key stakeholder groups.
Again, we urge you to reject efforts to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act and work instead toward improvements that will increase access to affordable, quality health care coverage for all Americans.
James L. Madara, MD
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President
AMA Media & Editorial
The White House
The White House staged a final event on July 24 (curiously not releasing a transcript of Trump's remarks):
Remarks by the Vice President Introducing President Trump for Remarks on Healthcare
Blue Room3:36 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Dr. Price. And good afternoon to all. To the families who are gathered here from all across America, on behalf of the First Family, welcome to the White House.
Since the first day of this administration, President Donald Trump has been working to keep the promises that he made to the American people to rebuild our military, revive our economy. And this President has worked tirelessly to repeal and replace Obamacare.
President Trump knows that every day Obamacare survives is another day that American families and American businesses struggle.
As we’ve traveled across the country, we’ve heard firsthand from Americans just like those who stand behind me today, from families who are bearing the cost of skyrocketing premiums and plummeting choices, from families who’ve lost their doctors, lost their insurance, and from families who are starting to lose hope that Congress will ever respond.
But as I’ve told every one of them and people all across this country, thanks to the leadership of President Trump, help is on the way. President Trump hears you. He is fighting for you, and he will keep fighting every day until we give the American people access to the world-class health care they deserve.
Tomorrow, the United States Senate will have the opportunity to begin the debate on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. And as the President said this morning, after years of talking and campaigning on it, now is the time for Republicans in the Senate to act. Republicans in the Senate will have in his words a “chance to do the right thing” to keep their promise to the American people and these families and families all across this country. And this President and the American people are counting on the Senate to act.
So with gratitude for his leadership and his persistence and determination to make American health care great again, it is my high honor and distinct privilege to introduce to these families and to all of you the 45th President of the United States of America -- President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
3:38 P.M. EDT
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
Motion to Proceed to H.R. 1628 – American Health Care Act of 2017The Administration urges all Senators to support the Motion to Proceed to H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act of 2017.
For months, the Administration has supported multiple bills that repeal central parts of Obamacare and include replacement provisions, such as market stability funding and an expansion of Health Savings Accounts. These bills include H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act of 2017, and the Senate amendment to H.R. 1628, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. Both pieces of legislation fulfill President Trump’s promise to provide relief to Americans suffering from the failures of Obamacare and to transition to a better healthcare system by taking power out of Washington and returning it to the States and to families.
H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, which passed both chambers in 2015, outlines yet another path to providing relief from Obamacare. This bill repeals Obamacare’s damaging individual and employer mandate penalties and its tax increases, while providing a reasonable transition period for the Congress to enact patient-centered healthcare. The Administration supports H.R. 3762 as a first step in a multi-step repeal-and-replace process.
As Obamacare exchanges continue a collapse that began years ago, the Administration firmly believes that inaction on healthcare reform is not an option.
The Administration strongly encourages all Senators to support the Motion to Proceed to H.R. 1628 and to move forward on repealing Obamacare and replacing it with true reforms that expand choice and lower costs.
Democratic National Committee
Tom Perez Response to Trump Remarks on Health CareIn response to Trump’s remarks on healthcare and tomorrow’s vote to advance the Senate Republican Health Care repeal bill, DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement:
“Today, Donald Trump told Senate Republicans to ignore their constituents and take health care away from up to 32 million Americans. Many senators haven’t even seen the bill they’re voting on, let alone discussed it with the people they represent.
“But no matter how many ways President Trump tries to twist or hide the truth, the facts won’t change: the Affordable Care Act has been a lifesaver for millions of Americans – and repealing it would be devastating for middle class families and our economy.
“Democrats believe that health care is a right, not a privilege. It’s time for our Republican colleagues to drop this charade and join Democrats as we work to improve our health care system for all.”July 24, 2017
Despite 7 Years to Plan, Republicans Forcing Late, Mystery Vote on ACA RepealAs soon as the ACA was signed into law, Republicans began in earnest their 7-year crusade to repeal the law that as of today has allowed over 20 million previously uninsured Americans to gain health insurance, and is now more popular than ever.
- On the very same day that President Obama signed the ACA into law, a group of 14 attorneys-general filed a lawsuit to challenge it.
- Republicans engaged in stunningly dishonest attacks, even earning Politifact’s “Lie of the Year” for whoppers suggesting that the ACA had “death panels” and was a “government takeover.”
- The House alone voted more than 60 times on largely symbolic votes to repeal the law.
- In 2013 Republicans brought our government to a halt by injecting their opposition into unrelated deliberations about the federal budget, culminating in a shutdown that was estimated to have cost our economy $24 billion.
- In the four national election cycles since the law’s enactment, Republican candidates and outside groups have spent more than $666 million on at least 1.3 million anti-Obamacare ads.
- Republicans in the House scrambled to come up with a bill and held no hearings on the final version of the AHCA:
- The House Republicans crafted their legislation behind closed doors, shutting out Democrats, health care experts, and the American public.
- They moved so quickly that numerous members openly admitted that they hadn’t even read it.
- House Republicans purposefully, but irresponsibly held the final vote before a final score could be issued by the CBO.
- Mitch McConnell and Republicans in the Senate charted a similar course:
- They engaged in an unprecedented level of secrecy to delay the inevitable backlash to their cruel bill.
- In a stark contrast with how the ACA was handled by Senate Democrats in 2009-2010, the Senate GOP’s process bypassed committees and lacked any hearings or markups.
- McConnell tapped a crew of 13 Republicans – all white men with little expertise – to craft a bill that would ultimately degrade women’s access to health care.
New York Times: “The majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, remained unswerving in his drive toward a vote next week on a procedural motion to begin debating health care. But he has not specified which version of the legislation he intends to put before the Senate. In effect, he is asking 50 senators to roll the dice and hope they land on an option they can work with.”
Washington Post: “So McConnell has resorted to a plan C: bringing to the floor an anti-ACA bill passed by the House this spring and allowing senators a sort of free-for-all for substituting in either of the Senate measures or new iterations.”
CNN: “Republicans are returning uncertain on what their leadership is asking for them to vote on and there is no indication that the votes are even close to being there.”
Heritage Action for America
Congressional Republicans promised to repeal Obamacare for seven years. Now is not the time for excuses. President Trump is in the White House and ready to sign a bill that would begin delivering on those promises.
Tomorrow, Senate Republicans will cast a key procedural vote to begin debate on repealing and replacing Obamacare.
There is absolutely no doubt that the past seven months has been frustrating. As Obamacare’s failures mounted -- premiums skyrocketing, networks narrowing and insurers disappearing -- congressional Republicans have dithered. Far too many Republicans appear unwilling to simply repeal the law they spent years promising to unravel.
Conservative frustration is justified, but that frustration will rightly morph into anger if Senate Republicans cannot agree to even debate the future of Obamacare.
As our CEO Mike Needham said earlier today, “Failure is not an option.”
Since becoming law, people have lost their doctors, jobs and sense of security. Republicans promised voters that they would do everything in their power to repeal and replace Obamacare and now is the time to move forward.
Call your Senators to ask them to vote “YES” on motion to proceed.
Americans for Limited Government
For Immediate Release Contact: Robert Romano
July 24, 2017 Phone: 703-383-0880 ext. 101
ALG urges Yes on Motion to Proceed to Obamacare repealJuly 24, 2017, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging the Senate to vote Yes on the motion to proceed to legislation on alternatives to Obamacare:
"The Senate should vote yes on the motion to proceed to consider alternatives to Obamacare. If nothing else, the motion to proceed will be followed by a repeat of the 2015 partial repeal bill. This will force every Senator who voted to repeal in 2015 to recast that vote now that it matters. There is simply no excuse after seven years of voting, complaining and campaigning for Senate Republicans to not take this opportunity to put their money where their mouths are, and end the failed Obamacare system."
American Bridge 21st Century PAC
American Bridge Response to Trump's Unhinged ACA RemarksAmerican Bridge Vice President Shripal Shah responded to Donald Trump's remarks about the Affordable Care Act and Trumpcare today with the following statement:
"Donald Trump's unhinged ravings demonstrate he knows nothing about the Affordable Care Act - including the year it was passed - which the overwhelming majority of the American people want him to work across party lines to improve. What's worse, nearly everything he said about Trumpcare is a blatant lie, and it flies in the face of warnings from America's doctors, hospitals, and patient advocacy organizations like the American Cancer Society. Trump's lies can't hide the truth: any Senator who votes yes tomorrow will be choosing tax cuts for the wealthy over the well-being of tens of millions of Americans."
Social Security Works
Mitch McConnell has pledged to bring Trumpcare to a vote this week. But even Republican Senators don’t know exactly what they would be voting on.
What we do know is that it would destroy Medicaid, raid Medicare, throw tens of millions off of their health care, bring back pre-existing conditions, and make health care unaffordable for older Americans.
Call your Senators right now and tell them to reject the health care repeal bill and vote against this week’s “motion to proceed”: (202) 224-3121
If we can defeat Trumpcare this week, it could be the final blow to this awful bill.
Here are some talking points when you call your Senators:
I urge the Senator to vote NO on the health care “motion to proceed;”
Proposed cuts to Medicaid―in the Senate health care bill―would result in tens of millions of low-income people, people with disabilities and older Americans losing health care coverage;
One in five Americans and two-thirds of nursing home patients rely on Medicaid to access vital health services;
Destroying Medicaid and raiding Medicare is not a health care plan. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Depending on the bill McConnell brings up for a vote, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that between 22-32 million people will lose their health care, with out-of-pocket costs for older Americans and people with pre-existing conditions skyrocketing.
Already, over one-third of the average Social Security check goes toward out-of-pocket health care costs. We need to take on big pharma and big insurance to bring those costs down, not make them even higher.
Call your Senators today and tell them to reject Trumpcare and vote NO on this week’s “motion to proceed”: (202) 224-3121.
Then, forward this email to three friends who live in states represented by the most critical Senators, listed below:
Sen. Lisa Murkowski - Alaska
Sen. Jeff Flake - Arizona
Sen. Cory Gardner - Colorado
Sen. Jerry Moran - Kansas
Sen. Bill Cassidy - Louisiana
Sen. Susan Collins - Maine
Sen. Dean Heller - Nevada
Sen. Rob Portman - Ohio
Sen. Ron Johnson - Wisconsin
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito - West Virginia
Thank you for all that you do to protect the health care and retirement security of millions of Americans.
Social Security Works
BEFORE THE VOTE
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
An Important First Step Toward Repealing ObamacareWASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the Senate Republican effort to repeal Obamacare:
“I’d like to start this morning with a few words about our friend and colleague from Arizona, Senator McCain, who we’ll welcome back today. As I noted last week, Senator McCain is a fighter. That’s evidenced by his remarkable life of public service, just as it’s again evidenced by his quick return to the Senate this afternoon. I know he’s eager to get back to work, and we’ll all be very pleased to have him back with us.
“Now on the vote that we’ll have today. In just a couple of hours, Senators will have an important decision to make. Seven years after Obamacare was imposed on our country, we will vote on the critical first step to finally move beyond its failures. Many of us have made commitments to our constituents to provide relief from this failed left-wing experiment. And now, we have a real opportunity to keep those commitments by voting to begin debate and, ultimately, to send smarter health care solutions to the president’s desk for his signature.
“Just yesterday, the president reiterated his intention to sign them. Just yesterday, the administration released a statement urging all Senators to vote in favor of the Motion to Proceed so that we can, quote, ‘move forward on repealing Obamacare and replacing it with true reforms that expand choice and lower costs.’
“I’d like to again express my appreciation to the administration for its continued close work with us on this issue at every step of the way. From the president and vice president to Secretary Price and Administrator Verma, as well as so many others, the engagement we’ve seen has been important to our efforts, and it has sent an unmistakable signal to the country that this administration not only understands the pain middle class families have felt under Obamacare but is actually committed to doing something about it.
“By now, we’re all keenly aware of the pain that Obamacare has caused for millions of families.
Premiums have skyrocketed under Obamacare — doubling on average in the vast majority of states on the federal exchange. Insurance options have declined under Obamacare — leaving many with as few as one or even zero insurers to choose from. Many Americans now face the real possibility of having no options at all and could find themselves trapped, forced by law to purchase Obamacare insurance but left by Obamacare without any means to do so. All the while, markets continue to collapse under Obamacare in states across the country. It’s a troubling indication of what’s to come — unless we act.
“Fortunately, the American people have granted us the opportunity to do so. We finally have an administration that cares about those suffering under Obamacare’s failures and a president who will sign a law to do something about it. We have a House that recently passed its own legislation to help address these problems. And we have a Senate, with a great charge before us to do our part now.
“If other Senators agree, and join in voting ‘yes’ on the motion to proceed, we can move one step closer to sending legislation to the president for his signature. I hope everyone will seize this moment. I certainly will. Only then can we open up a robust debate process. Only then will Senators have the opportunity to offer additional ideas on health care. Inaction will do nothing to solve Obamacare’s problems or bring relief to those who need it. In fact, it will make things worse for our constituents across the country.
“I’d like to reiterate what the president said yesterday. ‘Any senator who votes against starting debate,’ he said, ‘is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare…’ That’s a position that even Democrats have found hard to defend. Remember President Clinton called Obamacare ‘the craziest thing in the world’ and a Democratic Governor said it’s ‘no longer affordable.’ You won’t hear me say this often, but they’re right.
“So I hope colleagues will consider Obamacare’s history of failures — the unaffordable costs, the scarce choices, the burden on middle class families — as they cast their vote this afternoon. I would urge them to remember the families who are hurting under this collapsing law.
“Numerous Kentuckians — like so many others across the nation — have conveyed their heartbreaking stories with my office through phone calls, letters, meetings, and dozens of health care forums all across Kentucky. These families are suffering under Obamacare, and they need relief. I will be thinking about them as I vote to proceed to the bill today. I know many other colleagues will do the same.
“Our constituents are hurting under Obamacare. They are counting on us to do the right thing right now. That means voting to allow the Senate to finally move beyond Obamacare’s failures. That’s what intend to do. That’s what I urge every colleague to do. We can do better than Obamacare, and we have a responsibility to the American people to do that. Today’s vote to begin debate is the first step. We should take it.”
Trump Health Care Tweets, Morning of July 25:
11:20 a.m. - The American people have waited long enough. There has been enough talk and no action for seven years. Now is the time for action!
...and a 57-second video from yesterday's event:
|"Behind me today we have real American families who are suffering because seven years ago a small group of politicians and special interests in Washington engineered a government takeover of healthcare. Every pledge that Washington Democrats made to pass that bill turned out to be a lie. The question for every Senator, Democrat or Republican is whether they will side with Obamacare's architects or with its forgotten victims. Any Senator who votes against starting debate is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare, which is what it is. There is still time to do the right thing. Every member of the Senate I say this, the American people have waited long enough. There's been enough talk and no action. Now is the time for action."
6:44 a.m. - So great that John McCain is coming back to vote. Brave - American hero! Thank you John.
6:38 a.m. - ObamaCare is torturing the American People.The Democrats have fooled the people long enough. Repeal or Repeal & Replace! I have pen in hand.
6:27 a.m. - Big day for HealthCare. After 7 years of talking, we will soon see whether or not Republicans are willing to step up to the plate!
[but note that Trump's first three Tweets of the day were on Clinton and the 2016 campaign: "Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign - "quietly working to boost Clinton." So where is the investigation A.G. @seanhannity" - "Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!" - "Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!"]
American Bridge 21st Century PAC
Health Experts Alarmed By GOP's Underhanded "Skinny" RepealHealth policy experts immediately warned that the desperate new plan Republicans developed for repealing the Affordable Care Act - which the American people overwhelmingly support keeping and improving on a bipartisan basis - would strip health coverage from millions, force premium costs to skyrocket, and cause insurance markets to collapse.
"Republicans have falsely howled about markets 'collapsing' under the ACA, but now we know where they really stand. When it comes to the ability of insurance markets to serve the American people, this last-minute Trojan Horse ploy is like intentionally putting poison in a patient's IV. This cowardly approach would take health coverage from millions and make premiums spike as it roiled markets and eventually sank them, leaving the American healthcare system in chaos," said American Bridge spokesperson Andrew Bates.
Jacob Leibenluft, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - 7/25/2017: "Best way to think of this: as a Trojan horse. It's a (harmful) vehicle to get to a bill just as bad as the AHCA, BCRA, etc."
Larry Levitt, Kaiser Family Foundation - 7/25/2017: “CBO on repealing the individual mandate (‘skinny repeal’): 20% premium spike and 15 million uninsured increase.”
Sarah Kilff, Vox - 7/25/2017: “‘Skinny repeal’ would be an excellent way to torpedo the individual market. Insurers would flee w/o mandate.”
Matt O'Brien, Washington Post Wonkblog - 7/25/2017: "If this 'skinny' repeal ended up becoming law, it’s hard to see how it wouldn’t destroy every individual insurance market "
The Hill, 7/25/2017: “Experts warn, though, that repealing the individual mandate without any replacement measures would destabilize the insurance market and spike premiums.”
Vox, 7/25/2017: “...repealing the individual mandate risks sending Obamacare’s insurance markets into a death spiral. Health insurers have long said that a compulsion for people to buy insurance is necessary in order for the law to work, after it required that insurers cover everyone and charge everyone the same premiums no matter their health.”
New York Times, 7/25/2017: “Nobody expects that bill to become law. Instead, it would essentially serve as the vehicle for the Senate’s legislation. The House bill’s text would be swapped out for the Senate’s preferred language, whatever that ultimately is.”
Washington Times, 7/25/2017: Scrapping key parts of the 2010 Affordable Care Act without other reforms will unnerve insurers, since they would still have to accept sicker customers without the mandate designed to prod healthier people into the marketplace by forcing them to get insured or pay a tax.
AFTER THE VOTE
The White House
Statement by President Donald J. Trump on the Senate Supporting the Motion to Proceed on HealthcareI applaud the Senate for taking a giant step to end the Obamacare nightmare. As this vote shows, inaction is not an option, and now the legislative process can move forward as intended to produce a bill that lowers costs and increases options for all Americans. The Senate must now pass a bill and get it to my desk so we can finally end the Obamacare disaster once and for all.
Senate vote to proceed on Obamacare repeal 'important first step'July 25, 2017, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement praising the U.S. Senate for voting to proceed to legislation that would replace Obamacare:
"The Senate took the important first step needed to begin the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare. The next vote on the 2015 partial repeal language will demonstrate which Senate Republicans were serious about repeal and who was just playing politics. The Obamacare system has failed. There is absolutely no excuse not to sweep it away in its entirety and replace it with a market-based approach that will drive down consumer costs by finally creating real competition."
Family Research Council
Family Research Council Statement on Senate Vote on Motion to Proceed to Obamacare RepealWASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the Senate agreed to proceed to a debate on H.R. 1628, the House-passed American Health Care Act of 2017. In order for the Senate to debate the important elements of Obamacare's repeal and replacement, senators needed first to support a procedural motion to begin consideration of H.R. 1628. Family Research Council (FRC) scored in favor of the motion to proceed to H.R. 1628.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:
"Finally, the U.S. Senate has taken a crucial step toward repealing Obamacare, redirecting dollars away from the abortion giant Planned Parenthood and putting America's healthcare system on a path to recovery. For more than 7 years, Republicans have promised the American people that they would repeal Obamacare, they did so in 2015, and now Congress finally has a president who will put his signature on the legislation.
"Family Research Council supported beginning debate on this health care legislation in order to get to amendments to repeal Obamacare with its massive expansion of subsidies for health care plans that cover elective abortion, to defund abortion organizations from mandatory spending programs and pull back on this onerous law that has harmed so many families. The motion to proceed was only the first step, and now senators need to support amendments to rid America of the moral, regulatory, and cost burden that the so-called 'Affordable' Care Act has been.
"We owe a deep debt of gratitude to the many Members of Congress who make the protection of unborn children in the context of health care reform a high priority. The eyes of the pro-life movement are now intensely focused on the U.S. Senate as they vote on amendments to repeal Obamacare and replace it without also subsidizing elective abortion. We strongly support amendments to ensure that, if abortion funding protections on credits are struck on procedural grounds, that Americans' tax dollars are redirected in a way that does not subsidize abortion coverage.
"We strongly oppose any amendments to continue funding for abortion organizations, such as Planned Parenthood. It's the moral responsibility of Republican senators to support the repeal bill and fulfill their campaign promises that helped them secure the congressional majority," concluded Perkins.
Democratic National Committee
Tom Perez on GOP Vote to Advance Health Care RepealAfter Senate Republicans, including Sens. Heller, Capito, Flake, Moran, and Hoeven today voted to move forward with their health care repeal, DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement:
"Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have ignored the people they’re supposed to represent. They have broken their promises. And today, they turned their backs on human decency.
“This will be the Republican Party’s legacy under repeal: families going bankrupt; children suffering from untreated illnesses; Americans facing death because they cannot afford the care that would keep them alive. This is the future Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Congressional Republicans want for America -- a nation shattered by cruelty. History will not forget that when voters looked to the Republican Party for courage, all they found were cowards.”
“Don’t be fooled. No matter what they call it, their goal is to repeal the ACA and take health care away from millions. It’s time once again to call your representatives and tell them health care is a right for all, not a privilege for the few.”
American Bridge 21st Century PAC
Republican Senators just voted with Donald Trump to gut their constituents' healthcareAmerican Bridge President Jessica Mackler released the following statement after Republicans in the Senate voted with Donald Trump to take healthcare from millions of Americans:
"Every Republican in Washington will own this plan to gut healthcare for the American people in order to cut taxes for the rich. Pushing this reckless plan, while exempting themselves from the pain they plan to inflict upon the country, just to give the scandal-plagued President a poisoned political 'win' is a gross display of misplaced priorities, and the country isn't going to stand for it. Today Republicans chose to ignore the country's overwhelming opposition to Trumpcare, and the consequences will be felt by every Republican running for Senate or House in 2018 -- and for years to come."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
‘Moving Beyond The Failures Of Obamacare Is The Right Thing To Do’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the Senate Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare:
“The Senate took a critical step yesterday afternoon to finally
leave the failed experiment of Obamacare in the past. It marks an
important moment for our country. It signals a positive development for
the countless Americans who continue to suffer under Obamacare’s
skyrocketing costs and diminished options. I thank every colleague who
voted to begin this debate. I thank the president, his administration,
and our friends in the House for the roles they’ve played.
“Now, we have to keep working hard. We’re determined to do everything we can to succeed; we know our constituents are counting on us. We’ll work through an open amendment process. I know members in both parties have health-care ideas they’d like to offer. If you’ve got one, bring it to the floor.
“Last night the Senate considered a comprehensive Obamacare repeal-and-replace substitute. That amendment was subject to a 60-vote threshold because the Congressional Budget Office had not provided a score for that provision yet, but it represented a number of important healthcare reform ideas developed by our members.
“Later today, the Senate will vote on another alternative that is based on the Obamacare repeal legislation that passed Congress in 2015 and was vetoed by President Obama. We’ll consider many different proposals throughout this process from Senators on both sides of the aisle. Ultimately, we want to get legislation to finally end the failed Obamacare status quo through Congress and to the president’s desk for his signature. This certainly won’t be easy. Hardly anything in this process has been.
“But we know that moving beyond the failures of Obamacare is the right thing to do. We’ve put in a lot of hard work already. We’ve had important successes, like we saw with the vote to proceed yesterday. We have to keep up the work now so we can get this done.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Senate Votes on Dr. Rand Paul’s Obamacare Repeal Amendment
WASHINGTON, D.C. –
Today, the Senate voted on U.S. Senator and physician Rand Paul’s
amendment, the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, which
was introduced as Amendment No. 271 to the American Healthcare Act of
2017 [HR 1628] last night. The vote was 45-55.
Dr. Paul released the following remarks:
I’m a physician, an eye surgeon. I’ve spent my entire life in medicine. I have seen the disaster that is Obamacare up close.
Let’s review why we are here. Why must we repeal Obamacare?
Obamacare premiums have doubled in the individual market in just a few short years.
Obamacare insurance rules and mandates have caused 4.7 million plan cancellations across 30 states.
800,000 fewer jobs because of Obamacare mandates and costs.
50% of Americans have only one choice in insurance.
Many counties now have NO insurance choices. 25,000 Kentuckians who make less than $25,000 a year pay Obamacare FINES instead of getting insurance, because they can’t afford the prices. Kentuckians who can’t afford Obamacare Insurance pay over $16 million in fines.
This bill is a clean repeal – though only a partial repeal. Arcane Senate rules prevent a complete repeal from being considered today. So, this bill is just the beginning. This bill begins to unravel the nightmare of Obamacare.
Let me be very clear, large parts of Obamacare remain after this repeal bill today. What this bill does, though, is force both sides to come together to find a bipartisan solution during the two year transition.
The bill gives us a two year window for both sides of the aisle to come together to discover how we can get MORE insurance for MORE people for LESS cost.
Currently there are still 27 million people without insurance even after Obamacare. Half of them say they can’t get insurance because it is still too expensive. One answer to this terrible situation is to legalize the formation of nationwide health associations.
We need to do more for people to get insurance. I want everyone in America to be able to join a group, for protection against illness and to bring costs down.
Right now, if you have group insurance, if you work for a large corporation like Toyota or Ford, you’re protected if you get really sick. You don’t lose your job or your coverage. But if you’re an individual or small business, you are left out. I want to change the rules to allow nearly any group to offer insurance, From your local Chamber of Commerce to your credit union, to your professional association.
Instead of talking about how many fewer people we can cover, let’s talk about how many more we could cover if we legalize choice.
We also have to bring competition to healthcare, and let the market bring down prices. We can only do that by dramatically expanding the size and scope of Health Savings Accounts.
Since we won’t be doing that today, we have more work to do, and we should keep working at it.
But we have to start somewhere. And where we should start is where we all promised we would be – here to repeal Obamacare.
We all ran on it. All but one of us voted for it in 2015. It is simple. If you are against the taxes and mandates of Obamacare you have an obligation to vote for this bill today.
Of course it isn’t the last word. Some may want more repeal, and we can try that. Some have different replace ideas – I’m one of those people – and we have to keep working on THAT. But today let’s pass a repeal, one with a two year window to wind down, and let’s do what we told the American people we would do.
There are some, especially on the other side or in the media – or both – who ask, “Can Republicans govern?”
That’s a good question. I say yes, but I tell you this – it’s hard to say yes if we cant do something as simple as keeping our word. As simple as voting today how we voted before, when we were asking to be in charge.
If you tell people you’re going to do something, do it. It’s just that simple.
Let’s repeal Obamacare.
Senate Six threaten GOP Senate future with vote against Obamacare repeal
July 26, 2017, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement blasting six Republican Senators who voted for repealing Obamacare in 2015 but who have now changed their votes:
"It is sad to see six Republican Senators, John McCain, Shelley Moore Capito, Dean Heller, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman and Lamar Alexander who voted in 2015 to repeal most of Obamacare have now decided to change their votes when it actually mattered and there's a president in the White House who wanted to sign the bill. This betrayal of their constituents' trust threatens to leave the failed Obamacare system in place.
"This is outright fraud. These senators have repeatedly lied to the American people about where they stood on one of the signature issues facing the nation.
"Obamacare has failed. Premiums are higher than ever and the options on insurance marketplaces are dwindling. In the meantime, the employer mandates still create a disincentive against hiring full-time employees and Medicaid expansion is bankrupting state budgets.
"The American people have become all too accustomed to politicians who say one thing and do another. The Senate Six have proven that the public's cynicism about politicians is well-placed, for if they had just kept word, Obamacare would be history. The days ahead will prove whether the GOP majority in the Senate is able to keep their election promises. If they fail, fantasies of a 60-vote Republican Senate will be replaced by fears of a Democrat majority."
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) - Ranking Member Senate Budget Committee
Health Care Reconciliation Amendments
McConnell Amendment #270: Better Care Reconciliation Act (Failed)
This amendment is BCRA + the Cruz proposal. The Cruz amendment would allow insurers to sell "junk" insurance plans that can charge higher premiums for, or even completely reject, people with pre-existing conditions. Insurers would also be able to completely waive essential health benefits like maternity care and mental health. Insurers would be allowed to sell these "junk" plans as long as they offer one silver-level, one gold-level, and one benchmark "ACA-compliant" plan individuals would be prohibited from using premium tax credits to buy them these plans. Further, these plans do not count as “creditable coverage,” meaning enrollees may be subject to the “six month lockout” if they get sick and choose to enroll in better individual market coverage. Providers, patient groups, and insurers have come out against this language, noting that it would price those with pre-existing conditions out of coverage and plunge the individual market into a death spiral.
Paul Amendment #271: Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017
This amendment is largely based on the 2015 Reconciliation Bill to repeal the ACA that President Obama vetoed, plus restrictions that prevent plans that include abortion coverage from being offered on the individual and small business exchanges and an attempt to change the “defund Planned Parenthood” language to avoid the Parliamentarian’s ruling. It would repeal the individual and employer mandates, the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, and the individual market premium tax credits within two years. It includes the tax cuts for wealthy individuals that were previously removed from the BCRA bill. This would leave 32 million more Americans uninsured, increase premiums by 25% by next year and give roughly $300 billion in tax cuts for top 2 percent and about $200 billion in tax cuts for health industry. Democrats will challenge multiple provisions under the Byrd Rule.
Donnelly Motion to Commit to Protect Medicaid
Motion to commit the bill to Senate Finance to strike provisions that (1) reduce or eliminate benefits or coverage for current Medicaid enrollees; (2) prevent or discourage a state from expanding its Medicaid program to include option groups of individuals; or (3) shift costs to states to cover care.
Heller Sense of the Senate
This amendment is a Sense of the Senate that the committees of jurisdiction should review legislation to ensure that states do not cut Medicaid services for individuals who are currently covered through Medicaid, including people with disabilities. It also proposes that the bills produced by the committees should not shift costs on to the states. The Sense of the Senate goes on to argue Obamacare should be repealed, citing a widely discredited study by the Trump administration that premiums have doubled over the last four years. Finally, it states that the committees should review legislation that would provide access to quality, affordable coverage in the commercial insurance market and strengthen Medicaid.
Casey Motion to Commit on Protecting People With Disabilities
Motion to commit to ensure individuals with disabilities do not lose access to affordable coverage or any of the benefits they currently receive though Medicaid or the health insurance market.
Daines Amendment #340: Expanded and Improved Medicare For All Act
This amendment is identical to H.R. 676, Representative Conyers’ Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. This amendment would provide government-run, single-payer insurance in the U.S. This is a political stunt in the midst of the unprecedented and disastrous process Republicans have undertaken to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Strange Amendment #389: Premium Assistance for low-income individuals
This amendment offers an altered version of BCRA’s stability funds. This version of the short-term stability fund would now require the fund's $15 billion appropriation for 2018 and 2019 and $10 billion appropriation for 2020 and 2021 be used to establish a program to provide insurers with payments to reduce premium costs for consumers who are eligible for ACA tax credits. The amendment prioritizes funding for states where the cost of insurance premiums are at least 75% higher than the national average (for which ONLY Alaska qualifies). This version of the long-term stability fund is changed to create an alternative pass-through payment to states for those who do not qualify for ACA tax credits and thus cannot be included in a state plan under the ACA’s existing 1332 waiver authority. The amendment also specifies that the abortion restrictions in Title XXI of the Social Security Act, into which the fund is drafted, apply to this funding. The amendment also phases down ACA tax credits and cost sharing subsidies to one-tenth of the amount under current law.
Schumer Motion to Commit to Strike Cadillac Tax (Failed 43-57)
Motion to commit to strike the Cadillac Tax in compliance with Senate budget rules.
Heller Amendment #502: Strike Sunset of Repeal of Tax on Employee Health Insurance Premiums and Health Plan Benefits
This amendment would strike the sunset of the repeal of the
Cadillac Tax, meaning the tax is permanently repealed. Because the
repeal is not offset, it increases the deficit for fiscal years outside
the ten year budget window and is subject to a Byrd Rule point of order
under Section 313(b)(1)(e).
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Sen. Cruz Introduces Amendments to Lower Premiums and Increase Access to Healthcare
Includes proposals to increase affordable care access and HSA contribution limits, stop medical lawsuit abuse, and allow insurers to sell across state linesWASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today proposed several amendments during the Senate healthcare debate, including two provisions that would allow Americans to access more affordable healthcare through the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to pay for direct primary care and increase HSA contribution limits. The other provisions would encourage states to enact medical malpractice reform, allow small businesses to provide association health plans, and allow for the sale of health insurance across state lines, all of which lower healthcare costs. Sen. Cruz also proposed reforms to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to allow expedited approval and increased availability of medicines and cures that have been approved in specific countries with developed safety standards.
“Both Republicans and Democrats should support these commonsense policy measures,” Sen. Cruz said. “For seven years, we’ve promised to repeal this disaster of a law, and the Senate is working toward that end. These amendments would provide more choices for consumers, put people back in control of their healthcare and most importantly, lower health insurance premiums.”
Details of Sen. Cruz’s amendments are as follows:
- Amendment 413: Allows the creation of small business and association health plans. Income used to run such health plans will be excluded from the unrelated business income tax, which helps drive down health care costs.
- Amendment 414: Amends the Internal Revenue Code to ensure that Direct Primary Care is not treated as a health plan or health insurance. The previous interpretation had limited the ability of HSAs to pay for Direct Primary Care.
- Amendment 415: Increases HSA contribution limits to $10,800 for individuals and $29,500 for families, which will significantly reduce health insurance costs for consumers.
- Amendment 416: Encourages state adoption of medical malpractice reform through increased matching funds (known as Federal Medical Assistance Percentages, or FMAP), reducing health care costs for consumers.
- Amendment 417: Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to establish a reciprocal marketing approval process that allows for the sale of a drug, biological product, or medical device that has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if the product is approved for sale in specific countries.
- Amendment 418: Allows the sale of health insurance across state lines, which expands competition and lowers health insurance premiums for consumers.
- Amendment 419: Repeals the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 and restores provisions of law amended by those Acts.
Speaker Ryan Press Office
Statement on Senate Health Care LegislationWASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement on the Senate health care legislation:
"It is now obvious that the only path ahead is for the Senate to pass the narrow legislation that it is currently considering. This package includes important reforms like eliminating the job-killing employer mandate and the requirement that forces people to purchase coverage they don’t want. Still it is not enough to solve the many failures of Obamacare. Senators have made clear that this is an effort to keep the process alive, not to make law. If moving forward requires a conference committee, that is something the House is willing to do. The reality, however, is that repealing and replacing Obamacare still ultimately requires the Senate to produce 51 votes for an actual plan. The House remains committed to finding a solution and working with our Senate colleagues, but the burden remains on the Senate to demonstrate that it is capable of passing something that keeps our promise, as the House has already done. Until the Senate can do that, we will never be able to develop a conference report that becomes law. We expect the Senate to act first on whatever the conference committee produces. Obamacare is collapsing and hurting American families. We have to keep working at this until we get the job done."
“This is clearly a disappointing moment. From skyrocketing costs to plummeting choices and collapsing markets, our constituents have suffered through an awful lot under Obamacare. We thought they deserved better. It’s why I, and many of my colleagues, did as we promised and voted to repeal this failed law. We told our constituents we would vote that way. When the moment came, most of us did. We kept our commitments. We worked hard — and everybody on this side can certainly attest to the fact that we worked really hard — to try to develop a consensus for a better way forward. And I want to thank everybody in this Conference for the endless amount of time that they spent trying to achieve a consensus to go forward. I also want to thank the president and the vice president who couldn’t have been more involved or more helpful.
“So yes, this is a disappointment. A disappointment indeed. Our friends over in the House, we thank them as well. I regret that our efforts were simply not enough this time.
“I imagine many of our colleagues on the other side are celebrating, probably pretty happy about all of this. But the American people are hurting and they need relief. Our friends on the other side decided early on that they did not want to engage with us in a serious way to help those suffering under Obamacare. They did everything they could to prevent the Senate from providing a better way forward including such things as reading amendments for endless amounts of time. Such things as holding up nominations for key positions in the administration because they were unhappy that we were trying to find a way to something better than Obamacare. So I expect that they are pretty satisfied tonight. I regret to say that they succeeded in that effort.
“Now I think it’s appropriate to ask, what are their ideas? It’ll be interesting to see what they suggest as the way forward. For myself I can say — and I bet I’m pretty safe in saying for most on this side of the aisle — that bailing out insurance companies with no thought of any kind of reform, is not something I want to be part of. And I suspect there are not many folks over here that are interested in that. But it’ll be interesting to see what they have in mind.
“Quadrupling down on the failures of Obamacare with ‘single payer’ — we had vote a little earlier thanks to the Senator from Montana— almost everybody voted present. Apparently, they didn't want to make a decision about whether they were for or against socialized medicine. A government takeover of everything. European health care. Only four of them weren’t afraid to say they didn’t think that was a good idea. Maybe that’s what they want to offer. We will be happy to have that debate with the American people. So, it’s time for our friends on the other side to tell us what they have in mind. And we’ll see how the American people feel about their ideas.
“So, I regret that we’re here, but I want to say again that I’m proud of the vote I cast tonight. It’s consistent with what we told the American people we’d try to accomplish in four straight elections if they gave us the chance. I want to thank all of my colleagues on this side of the aisle for everything they did to try and keep that commitment. What we tried to accomplish for the American people was the right thing for the country. And our only regret tonight is that we didn’t achieve what we had hoped to accomplish. I think the American people are going to regret that we couldn’t find a better way forward. And as I said, we look forward to our colleagues on the other side suggesting what they have in mind.”
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
STATEMENT BY SENATOR JOHN McCAIN ON VOTING “NO” ON “SKINNY REPEAL”Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement today on voting “no” on the so-called “skinny repeal” of Obamacare:
“From the beginning, I have believed that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with a solution that increases competition, lowers costs, and improves care for the American people. The so-called ‘skinny repeal’ amendment the Senate voted on today would not accomplish those goals. While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare’s most burdensome regulations, it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality health care to our citizens. The Speaker's statement that the House would be ‘willing’ to go to conference does not ease my concern that this shell of a bill could be taken up and passed at any time.
“I’ve stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict-party line basis without a single Republican vote. We should not make the mistakes of the past that has led to Obamacare’s collapse, including in my home state of Arizona where premiums are skyrocketing and health care providers are fleeing the marketplace. We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people. We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”
Schumer Floor Remarks Following Failed ACA Repeal Vote
First, let me say it's been a long, long road for both sides. Each side had sincere convictions, and we're at this point. So I would suggest – I want to say three things.
First, I would suggest we turn the page, we turn -- it's time to turn the page. I would say to my dear friend, the Majority Leader, we are not celebrating. We are relieved. And millions and millions of people who would have been so drastically hurt by the three proposals put forward will at least retain their health care, be able to deal with preexisting conditions, deal with nursing homes and opioids that Medicaid paid for.
We are relieved, not for ourselves but for the American people.
But, as I said, over and over again, Obamacare was hardly perfect. It did a lot of good things, but it needs improvement. And I hope one part offing it up that page is that we go -- and I hope that one part of turning that page is that we go back to regular order, work in the committees together to improve Obamacare.
We have good leaders, the Senator from Tennessee and the Senator from Washington, the Senator from Utah, the Senator from Oregon. They have worked well together in the past. And they can work well together in the future. There are suggestions that we are interested in, that come from members on the other side of the aisle -- the Senator from Maine, the Senator from Louisiana.
So let's turn the page and work together to improve our healthcare system, and let's turn the page in another way. All of us were so inspired by the speech and the life of the Senator from Arizona, and he asked us to go back to regular order, to bring back the Senate that some of us who have been here a while remember.
Maybe this can be a moment where we start doing that. Both sides will have to give. The blame hardly falls on one side or the other. But if we can take this moment, a solemn moment, and start working this body the way it had always worked until the last decade or so, with both sides to blame for the deterioration, we will do a better job for our country, a better job for this body, a better job for ourselves.
And finally, I'm glad that the Leader asked us to move to NDAA. We need to do it. I can say on this side of the aisle, we will move expeditiously. I know that the Senator from Rhode Island has worked with the Senator from Arizona on a list of amendments that can be agreed to, and we can finish this bill up rather quickly.
As I mentioned to the Majority Leader, there are some other things we can do rather quickly, including moving a whole lot of nominations. So we can work together.
Our country demands it.
Every place in every corner of the world -- of the country where we go, the number-one thing we are asked -- and I know this because I've talked to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle -- is can't you guys work together?
Let's give it a shot. Let's give at that shot.
3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!
Heritage Action for America
Mike Needham - What happened last night in the Senate
In the early hours of the morning, three Republican Senators -- John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) -- voted with the Democrats and undermined efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. This failed vote means that the current push to repeal Obamacare is stalled until the Senate figures out their next steps.
After seven years of empty promises, the Senate has shown a complete and utter inability to govern.
All across America families are stuck in a failing health care law, trapped between narrowing choices and skyrocketing premiums. As Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last night, throwing more taxpayer money at insurance companies will not fix this failed law.
It’s our continued responsibility to hold all congressional Republicans accountable for that promise. Conservatives must stand firm against ANY bailouts of Obamacare.
Call your Senators today and demand that they stick to their promise by working to repeal and replace Obamacare, not bail it out.
Conservatives should be extremely proud of the work we have done over the past seven years to keep Obamacare front and center in the political debate. The fight is not over yet.
Liberals view last night as a major victory -- moving America one step closer to a single-payer system. Now it is conservatives’ job to make sure that never happens.
Thank you for all you have done these past seven years to fight against Obamacare. That fight continues, and I look forward to standing in the trenches with you.
Rep. Keith Elllison (MN)
Rep. Ellison Congratulates Organizers, Activists for Defeating Republican ACA Repeal BillWASHINGTON – Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement after the latest Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act was defeated in the Senate, 51-49.
“I wish we could spend more time celebrating the defeat of the cruel ACA repeal bill. But Republicans will try this again. And they’ll keep trying until they can figure out a way to take healthcare away from tens of millions while still winning their elections.
“That’s why the hard work of organizing can’t stop. Make no mistake: The Republicans who opposed this bill wouldn’t have voted against it if not for the political pressure they felt. If not for the courage and perseverance of so many activists, the repeal would already be on the President’s desk.
“Politicians only see the light when the people turn up the heat. This victory belongs to you. If you called your Member of Congress, you are the reason this bill failed. If you wrote a letter, or showed up to a town hall, or put your body on the line by camping out in your Congressperson’s office despite rough treatment by the police, you reminded the GOP who really has the power in this country: the people.