In Part VII of our blog series, Very Opaque to Slightly Transparent: Shedding Light on the Future of Healthcare, we described the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (“BCRA”), the Senate GOP’s latest Obamacare repeal and replace legislation. While the Senate GOP leadership had hoped to vote on this bill as soon as this week, the sudden announcement on July 17th by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) of their opposition to BCRA has effectively killed the legislation as written. With Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY) having previously voiced their refusal to support BCRA, the bill simply lacks sufficient votes to pass or even be voted on by the full Senate. In response to this development, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued the following statement:
“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.
“So, in the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care.”
As of July 18th, at least three Republican Senators have indicated that they will not vote on a motion to proceed for the 2015 “repeal-and-delay” bill Senator McConnell proposed bringing to the floor. While the repeal effort certainly appears dead for the time being, as we learned from the apparent failure and subsequent resurrection of the American Health Care Act, the issue remains unsettled in this political climate.