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Senate Health Bill Lacks 50 Votes Needed to Proceed

Yesterday (7/17), two additional Senators – Sen. Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. Lee (R-NE) joined Senators Paul (R-KY) and Collins (R-ME) in announcing their intention to vote “no” on the motion to proceed on considering the Senate ACA repeal and replace legislation – effectively blocking Senate consideration of the current Senate Republican health care bill. Senators Paul, Lee and Roberts opposed the bill for not going far enough, while Senator Collins expressed her concern the bill goes too far.

With the 4 publicly announced NO votes – Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not have the 50 votes needed to begin debate on the bill, let alone assure final passage.

Speculation now turns to what happens next. President Trump has tweeted his preference to let Obamacare fail as a way to force Democrats to negotiate new legislation. Senator McConnell has suggested a series of symbolic votes on full repeal with multi-year delay to work on a replacement plan or voting on the House passed bill. However, three moderate senators, Capito (R-WV), Collins (R-ME) and Murkowski (R-AK), announced today they will not support procedural votes on an immediate ACA repeal bill.  Alternatively, Congress may abandon the health reform effort for the time being and pivot to other legislative priorities (tax reform and infrastructure). The failure of McConnell to lead the Senate effort may clear the way for a bipartisan effort to address the shortfalls of the ACA.

Please keep in mind the House repeal and replace effort “died” before the House ultimately passed its repeal legislation, so while the Senate effort looks to be “permanently stalled” it is probably premature to call it “dead.”

Nuala S. Moore

American Thoracic Society

Washington, DC USA

Cite as: Moore NS. Senate health bill lacks 50 votes needed to proceed. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2017;15(1):45. doi: PDF 

Reader Comments (4)

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 32 million more would be uninsured by 2026 if the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) is repealed ( Senator Majority Leader, has said that a vote to repeal the ACA would be scheduled for next week.
Richard A. Robbins, MD

July 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRichard A. Robbins, MD

Yesterday (Tuesday, July 25, 2017), Senate Republicans narrowly (51-50) passed a motion to begin debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare). Senator John McCain cast a crucial vote despite his diagnosis of brain cancer. The vote occurred just one week after the Republican effort to dismantle a pillar of former President Barack Obama’s legacy appeared all but doomed.

July 26, 2017 | Registered CommenterRick Robbins, M.D.

Yesterday (7/26/17), the US Senate rejected a measure that would repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) without providing a replacement. This leaves Republicans still searching for a path forward to fulfill their promise of dismantling the ACA.

July 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRick Robbins, MD

This morning, Friday, July 28, 2017, the US Senate rejected a new, scaled-down plan to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act (“Skinny” repeal bill) 49-to-51. Senator John McCain of Arizona cast the decisive vote to defeat the proposal, joining two other Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in opposing it. This vote derails the Republicans’ seven-year campaign to dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

July 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRick Robbins

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