Federal Spotlight: Senate GOP unveils health care overhaul legislation

June 29, 2017

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a draft of the Senate GOP's replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last week. Congressional Republicans have long sought to repeal and replace the ACA, and the Better Care Reconciliation Act is the Senate GOP's mechanism to do that. Some of the highlights of the initial bill include:

  • Repealing the ACA individual mandate
  • Allowing states to waive the federal mandate on what insurers must cover
  • Keeping ACA expansion of Medicaid until 2021; then phases it out over the next few years
  • Eliminating many costly taxes associated with ACA
  • Defunding Planned Parenthood for one year

There is little room for error if Republicans are to pass a bill in the upper chamber. Democrats have lined up against it and multiple GOP Senators from both spectrums of the party have also expressed opposition. Using arcane budget rules, the GOP can only afford to lose two senators in their caucus to pass the legislation. Sen. McConnell wanted to have a vote before the July 4th recess, but that isn't going to happen because of a lack of support for the bill. Negotiations are set to continue within the Republican caucus over the break.