You could say this CNN headline sums up our country’s current healthcare debacle: “Nobody seems to know what the heck is happening on health care.” The past few days have certainly been a roller coaster ride if you’ve been following President Trump’s attempts at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Below, we’ll briefly bring you up to speed on latest news, and will try to clarify just “what the heck” is going on in Washington, D.C.
Repeal and Replace—Stalled
Last week, Republicans failed to gather enough votes to pass the Senate version of a healthcare bill. Efforts to “replace” thus remain stalled. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell later attempted to plan a vote to “repeal” Obamacare without having any replacement plan in place. No plan. None at all. No surprise that three Republican senators crossed party lines and said they would oppose the procedural vote: Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Susan Collins of Maine.
Repealing without replacing would leave an estimated 18 million people without coverage in the first year after its enactment and 32 million more by 2026, according to a Congressional Budget Office report. It would also result in premiums on individual market policies to rise by 25 percent in the first year and to double by 2026. For these reasons and more, Democrats and groups such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are opposing such cutbacks.
What’s Next, Mr. McConnell?
McConnell announced last Tuesday (7.18.17) that Republicans would hold a procedural vote on the health care bill "early next week." Exactly what McConnell’s proposed vote entails remains to be seen. Several Republican senators suggested returning to committee work to piece together a better plan and Senator Lamar Alexander, the Senate's health committee chairman, said the Senate health committee will hold hearings in the next few weeks to explore how best to stabilize the market.
Meanwhile, President Trump has made it clear that his hope is to let Obamacare fail. He doesn’t believe the Republican plan is “dead" but that "…it is going to happen." Time will tell.
Given the ever-changing scope of the healthcare news, by the time you’re reading this, there are likely scores of new healthcare headlines to browse. We’ll be bringing you updates now and then to keep you informed!