NASN Update in the Senate on the Affordable Care Act
Dear NASN members,
Here is an update about latest attempt in the Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Motion to Proceed went forward with 50 votes on each side, so the Vice President was brought in to break the tie last night. (This vote was with Senator McCain making a dramatic return to the Senate after being diagnosed with brain cancer.) Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) voted against the Motion to Proceed. All the Democrats opposed it. Since the Motion to Proceed did pass, this means that debate, amendments and votes on the repeal of the ACA can now move forward in the Senate.
The first vote then occurred on a stand-in for the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) which is the Senate version of the repeal with the Cruz Amendment which would allow for insurance without the ACA mandates to be sold, such as maternity care. Critics say that the Cruz Amendment would destabilize the insurance markets. This first vote failed by a vote of 43 to 57.
Today there will be a vote on Repeal of ACA but without a replacement. It is also expected to fail. There will probably be votes on several democratic amendments.
There could be another vote on another version of the BCRA in the future. It is expected that on Thursday there will be a "vote-a-rama" which will be where the Senate takes up the original House bill and adds many amendments onto that original bill.
Lastly it is expected that the Senate will take up a "skinny" version of repeal that, as stated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, is the "lowest common denominator." It is expected that this bill will have three main components: end the employer mandate, end the individual mandate, and repeal the medical device tax. If Republicans are at least able to pass the "skinny" bill, they can conference with the House, which means to work out the differences between the two bills and see what can be passed by both Houses.
It appears that whatever happens however, will be done by Friday. The Senate only slated 20 hours of debate and they already used three of those precious hours Monday night. We will keep you informed as all of this unfolds.
Piper Largent BA
Director of Government Affairs
National Association of School Nurses