After weeks of uncertainty and a number of changes to the American Health Care Act (or the Republican’s attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare), Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hoped to gather enough votes to pass the final version, renamed the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Senator McConnell did not convince enough of his fellow senators to vote for the bill, so he delayed the vote and went back to the drawing board.
His final proposal was nicknamed the “Skinny Repeal Bill.” What was this bill and why was it called a “Skinny Bill”? Well, rather than a traditional bill, this bill was a way for Republicans to repeal certain parts of the Affordable Care Act without having to replace it with anything. It’s like if someone took off the wheels, brakes, and handlebars of your bike insisting that there are ones that can make you go faster, brake better, and steer with more precision, but didn’t actually replace the parts that they took off with these supposedly better parts because, well, they don’t exist … yet.
Well, that proposal didn’t make any sense to fifty-one of the one hundred senators, including three from the Republican Party that went “rogue.” Arizona Senator John McCain, Maine Senator Susan Collins, and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski voted against the “Skinny Repeal Bill”. With a simple thumbs down motion from Senator John McCain, the Republican-dominated Senate sent a signal to the country and to President Trump that it was time to work together to give the American people what they really need: better health care.
Since that fateful vote, some lawmakers are renewing their efforts to work together. In the House of Representatives, Republicans and Democrats are coming together to fix parts of Obamacare. In the Senate, the Senate Health Committee is meeting with members from both parties to hear thoughts on how to repair the private insurance market. But will all this discussion actually work? Will Americans get the health care that they need? Only time will tell. Although some members of both the House and Senate are working together, there are still those, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, who are working on repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Missed our original post about healthcare? Scroll down!
Published on 7/14/17:
Let’s talk about healthcare for a minute, shall we? First, what is it? It’s everything needed to take care of both your physical and mental health. Simple, right? Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Healthcare is one of the most complicated topics, and governments around the world debate this topic often. After all, everyone’s health needs are different (some rarely see the doctor, while others may see the doctor regularly). Healthcare is also quite expensive. Every time you see a doctor, get an eye exam, or get your teeth cleaned, it costs money. Some people have insurance, while others pay out-of-pocket.
So why are we talking about healthcare now? In 2009, President Obama and House Democrats introduced the Affordable Care Act (not to be confused with the American Health Care Act … we’ll get to that later). It was often referred to as Obamacare, and its intention was to overhaul the current healthcare system. It was also created to provide healthcare for anyone who needed it. All great, right? But with these good intentions, there were costs and questions. How much would it cost the government to sustain this kind of universal healthcare? Would Obamacare mean the end of big insurance companies? There were many questions, but the bill was passed into law in 2010.
Now, let’s fast-forward to the present. When President Trump was campaigning to be President of the United States, one of his promises was to get rid of Obamacare. Why? Because some people really disliked the idea of it. Many House Republicans thought Obamacare would destroy big businesses like private insurance companies (remember, those are the guys people pay every month so that they’re covered when they need to see a doctor). In March, House Republicans, with the support of President Trump, created the American Health Care Act, a bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare. It never even made it to Congress because those who created the bill couldn’t get enough representatives to vote for it—not even from their own party! Why? Because the bill was riddled with issues—a big one was that millions of people would have their insurance taken away. So the bill was revised and brought before the House of Representatives for a vote on May 4th. This time, it passed, but not without controversy around why or how it passed.
When some representatives who voted to pass the bill were asked if they had read the bill, they said “no.” The bill was also brought to the House for a vote before the Congressional Budget Office had a chance to look it over. Another big issue? The bill would take away healthcare for the millions of people who currently have it under Obamacare.
So, what now? It’s been several months since the American Health Care Act was passed by the House, and now it’s up to the Senate to vote for a revised version of the bill. Unfortunately, the process for getting this bill in front of the Senate has been anything but simple. Why? It started when a committee was formed to revise the bill. Several senate Democrats cried foul and wondered why the bill was being revised in secret. Later, when the revised version of the bill was unveiled, senators questioned what was actually changed—fewer people would receive healthcare (we’re talking more than 22 million!), and it would cost the government more to cover those who would be receiving healthcare.
The Senate is looking to vote on what is now being called the Better Care Reconciliation Act next week, but Senate Republicans have yet to gather enough votes for it to pass. Why is it so hard to change healthcare? Because it’s complicated!
We’ll just have to wait and see what happens with a bill that is trying to repeal and replace Obamacare.