As Congress returns to Washington, D.C. from a quick Independence Day break, the question of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains top of mind. Job one for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is to revise his proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act to rally more Republican support in the Senate. Complicating McConnell’s efforts are Republican governors like Brian Sandoval of Nevada and John Kasich of Ohio, who have been vigorously expressing concern about the legislation’s proposed timing and amount of Medicaid funding reductions.
McConnell has signaled that if he cannot rally enough Senate Republican votes to pass some version of his proposed legislation, he will turn his attention to addressing issues with the current healthcare insurance exchanges as set up by the ACA.
“If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private healthcare insurance exchanges are seeing fewer choices and rapidly rising premiums as insurance companies are either leaving the exchanges or providing limited plan offerings.
Republicans have continually focused on repealing the ACA, nicknamed “Obamacare,” and reducing Medicaid funding, while Democratic members of Congress have been unified in their opposition to any efforts to repeal Obamacare. However, Democrats have expressed an interest in working with Republicans if they change course to focus on fixing the ACA instead of repealing it.
Pressure is mounting for some kind of action on healthcare to be taken before Congress adjourns at the end of the month for the August recess. President Trump greeted the returning lawmakers with this tweet: “I cannot imagine that Congress would dare to leave Washington without a beautiful new HealthCare bill fully approved and ready to go!”
Senate Majority Leader McConnell has stated: “No action is not an alternative…” What that action will be is a question that many would like answered in the next few weeks. Could the answer be a bipartisan effort to address healthcare?
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