Senate Takes First Step Toward Repealing Affordable Care Act

Image courtesy of photographynatalia

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the U.S. Senate voted — largely along party lines — on a resolution instructing multiple legislative committees to begin the process of disassembling the 7-year-old Affordable Care Act.

Today’s vote involved a concurrent budget resolution that includes the creation of reserve funds for legislation related to health care, and gives the relevant committees in both the House and Senate until Jan. 27 (though that date is apparently flexible) to come up with recommendations for moving forward with the repeal process.

The 51-48 vote was almost exclusively along party lines, with Sen. Rand Paul the lone Republican voting against the budget resolution.

Before the final vote, Senate Democrats put forth a number of amendments that were largely symbolic but were seen as a way of getting their Republican counterparts on the record as voting against measures that appear to be pro-consumer, like an amendment to the resolution that would have allowed for lower-cost imported prescription medications from Canada, another that would have protected rural hospitals from repeal legislation, one aimed at shielding chronically ill patients, and more than a dozen others. None of them were accepted as part of the resolution.

The repeal legislation is being included in the budget resolution because, unlike a law that would need 60 votes to pass in the Senate, the budget only needs a simple majority.

The House is expected to take up the matter tomorrow, where another party-line vote is expected, though some Republicans in the House have expressed concerns about the lack of a clear replacement plan from GOP leadership or the incoming Trump administration.

President-elect Trump, in his first press conference since winning the election, said on Wednesday that he would reveal his replacement plan soon after his nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price (GA) is confirmed by the Senate. He did not, however, provide any additional details on what that replacement might look like.

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