Senate GOP Fails to Pass ACA Repeal and Replace Bills

The first proposal brought up for consideration by Majority Leader McConnell on Tuesday, an updated version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) that included amendments proposed by Sens. Ted Cruz and Rob Portman, included a number of provisions that were ruled ineligible for reconciliation by the Senate Parliamentarian.  Additionally, some of the added provisions lacked scores from CBO, and thus passage would have required 60 votes rather than 51. The bill was defeated by the vote on a budget point of order raised by Sen. Patty Murray.

The second proposal, the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, was a bill designed to mirror much of the ACA repeal bill that was passed by Republicans in Congress and vetoed by Pres. Obama in 2016.  The measure would have provided for a delayed repeal of many provisions of the ACA to give lawmakers time to replace them.  That amendment failed by a vote of 45-55, with seven Republicans—Lamar Alexander, Shelley Moore Capito, Susan Collins, Dean Heller, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Rob Portman—joining Democrats in opposition.

And finally, the third proposal, the Health Care Freedom Act (commonly known as the “skinny” repeal bill), fell one vote short of the 51 votes needed to pass under the reconciliation process in an outcome that surprised both congressional leadership and the White House.  Sens. Collins and Murkowski, who have consistently voiced concerns about the Republicans’ current approach to repeal were joined in their opposition by Sen. McCain, who had implored his Senate colleagues to return to regular order and bipartisan negotiation in a floor speech the day before.  The bill included repeal or delay of just a handful of measures, such as the individual mandate, the employer mandate and the excise tax on devices, but was nonetheless predicted to increase the number of uninsured Americans by 16 million and raise exchange plan premiums by 20%.