Update: three Republican Senators have now announced that they will oppose the repeal of Obamacare without a replacement. This effectively dooms GOP plans to repeal the healthcare law.
We have some good news and some bad news. First, the good news.
The Republican’s replacement to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – better known as “Obamacare” – will not be put to a vote in the Senate.
It required a majority of the Senate to voice their support for it, but in the last few days, despite revisions and attempts to please both moderates and conservatives, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell effectively announced that the Better Care and Reconciliation Act (BCRA) has been scrapped.
“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” McConnell said, as reported by The Hill.
At present, there are 52 Republican Senators, which means that in order for the BCRA to pass, McConnell couldn’t afford to lose more than two on his side of the aisle. In the event of a tie, Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote.
There has always been dissent among Republican Senators who either see the bill as too harsh or, conversely, too similar to Obamacare. As of last night, there are at least four GOP Senators opposed to the bill, and with time running out to cast a vote, McConnell decided to bury it.
This is great news on the face of it. The BCRA was widely panned by vast swaths of the American public, the nation’s top medical collectives, academics, researchers, and even health insurers. The bill was less popular than Vladimir Putin or the Vietnam War.
It would have stripped healthcare away from more than 23 million Americans, brought back judgment based on ludicrous pre-existing conditions like “pregnancy” and “victim of domestic violence”, and rob the poorest, oldest, youngest, and sickest members of society of sexual, mental, and substance abuse-related healthcare.
The bill would have led to the deaths of around 220,000 Americans by 2026. It’s good that it’s been buried, but sadly that’s not the end of the story: the GOP is planning to eliminate the ACA regardless.