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ACA Repeal/Replace Sputters

Late in June, Senate Republicans introduced their long awaited legislation to repeal/replace the Affordable Care Act. However, unlike the House version, which passed the House, the Senate bill was met with immediate skepticism from within the Senate Republican caucus. Members of the Conservative and Moderate wing, immediately called for continued negotiations—with very different and in many cases, conflicting demands. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had to scrap an anticipated pre-July 4th vote on the legislation as he has been unable to secure 50 Republican votes to move the measure forward.

The challenge for Leader McConnell is that he will have to pick: the Conservatives or the Moderates and then even then, he still might not get the 50 votes necessary. Picking the Conservative side means further eliminating key protections that are very popular with voters and siding with the Moderates means going against the Conservative Think Tanks (Heritage) who have deep pockets and will not hold back on striking out against those who they perceive as threats, even within the Republican Party.

It seems surprising that for what was a mantra and promised campaign slogan for the Republicans that they really were not prepared with legislation that was vetted, debated, and popular within its own caucus, let alone the American people. For five years, they promised a repeal/replace bill but both chambers have introduced vastly different pieces of legislation that would both have a hard time getting to the President’s desk for signature.

I am sure by now the Republicans would have loved to have seen a repeal/replace billed signed into law and with that, the necessary $$ to move onto comprehensive tax reform, which would be vastly more popular with its base and the American people. However, it seems that Republicans are literally stuck in the mud. Without an ACA repeal/replace bill that savings the government north of $1B, the Republicans cannot push through tax reform—they lack the offsets necessary to garner the support from the influential Freedom Caucus. So, here we are—with a collapsing insurance market, scared consumers, and no real path forward. One would have thought controlling the House, Senate, and White House would have been more productive than this.
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