In the face of growing opposition among Republican Senators, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) late Monday announced that he will no longer move forward with the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the proposed bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Instead, McConnell said that GOP leaders plan to pursue a “repeal-and-delay” strategy. This plan would involve supporting H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, a bill designed to immediately repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act (Act). The proposed bill passed the House in 2015 but was vetoed by President Obama.
Major provisions of the legislation include:
- Repealing the ACA optional expansion of eligibility for Medicaid beginning in 2020
- Repealing subsidies for health insurance coverage purchased on the individual market beginning in 2020
- Eliminating the individual and employer mandates upon enactment
According to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), repealing these provisions of the ACA would cause the number of uninsured individuals to increase to 27 million by 2020 and 32 million by 2026. Average premiums in the nongroup market would increase 50 percent by 2020, and premiums would double by 2026. Enacting the legislation would decrease federal deficits by $473 billion over 2017-2026.
Three Republican Senators came out against the repeal-and-delay plan: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Shelley Moore Capito (W. Va.). Capito said in a statement, “I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”
With three confirmed “no” votes, the bill will likely die since it will fall short of the 51 votes needed to proceed to a debate.