Thursday, July 27, 2017

Senators wrestle with health insurance bills.

Senators Dean Heller and Susan Collins confer on the health insurancee vote.

SENATE LEADER Mitch McConnell is throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. The latest attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act went down in flames Wednesday (July 26).

The three AAPI women senators voted against the Republican proposals.

For the second time in less than 24 hours, the U.S. Senate took another vote on providing healthcare for Americans. This time, it was an outright repeal of the ACA by taking away the funding. And what would replace it? Nothing. That would leave ACA participants - over 22 million - without health insurance.

The measure, known as as the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, failed 45-55, with seven Republican senators voting against it, along with all Democrats and independents in the upper chamber. 

It should be noted that Sen. John McCain, who has received criticism for voting along party lines, opposed the proposal. He was joined by GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nev.), Shelley Moore Capito (W. Va.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Rob Portman (Ohio) opposed the legislation.

Heller, who drew intense criticism from his constituents when he voted to open debate on the issue, proposed an amendment to request protection of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion was defeated Wednesday evening by a 90-10 vote. Over 138,000 Nevadans would lose their health insurance if ACA is somehow watered down or eliminated.

The language in Heller's amendment asked the conference committee not to consider cutting Medicaid or shifting costs to states, but would not have imposed any binding requirements on the committee.

On Tuesday evening, the Senate voted against the Better Care Reconciliation Act, 43-57, McConnel's replacement for the ACA with nine Republicans joining the Democrats.

On Thursday, McConnel will try again to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires by offering up the so-called "skinny repeal," which would do away with some aspects of the ACA such as the individual mandate and the rule that requires companies with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance. 

There are some in the Senate who believe this more modest reduction would have a better chance for passage. However, if Heller remains steadfast in his opposition against any Medicaid reduction, and he votes with moderates Murkowski and Collins, the three no votes would be enough to stop any efforts to weaken or do away with the ACA.  

“We are better than this as a country, and the American people deserve more from us as their representatives," said California's Sen. Kamala Harris. "This vote to consider a bill that kicks more than 20 million people off of their health care is utterly shameful, but we cannot throw up our hands when it is time to roll up our sleeves." 

Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Chicago urged people to continue calling their senators. "Now more than ever, the American people must keep speaking out and making their voices heard," she said. "And Senate Republicans must listen – to their constituents and to the most vulnerable among us like the members of the disability community who have been here day after day literally fighting for their lives. Then, I hope we can leave this partisan process behind and pursue the honest-to-goodness fixes to the Affordable Care Act that both parties can support to improve our nation’s healthcare system.”

"Any proposal Senate Republicans come up with will kick millions off of their health care and hurt the sickest, oldest and poorest in our communities," said Sen. Mazie Hirono, D- Hawaii.  She returned to the Senate floor to vote against the Republican proposals after she underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor last week.


ATTN NEVADA RESIDENTS: Keep calling or emailing Sen. Heller to register your opposition against the Republican plans to eliminate or weaken the Affordable Care Act.
Email him at:
Call him at his district offices: 702-388-6605 in Las Vegas; or 775-686-5770 in Reno; or Washington DC, 202-224-6244.