CHN: Senate Passes Repeal of Affordable Care Act; President Vows to Veto Measure
On December 3, the Senate passed (52-47) a bill to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act. Because the Senate used a budget process known as reconciliation, only a simple majority of votes were needed to pass the measure instead of the Senate’s usual 60-vote threshold. While the House has voted dozens of times to repeal all or part of the ACA, this is the first time a bill to do so cleared the Senate. The bill would repeal the law’s penalties for individuals who don’t obtain health coverage and for employers who don’t offer it. It would also throw out the Medicaid expansion provisions of the law and the subsidies that help individuals afford coverage. In addition, the bill would strip federal funding for one year from Planned Parenthood. The House had previously passed a more limited version of the bill, and while it was originally expected to pass the Senate’s expanded version in quick fashion, reports are now saying the House will wait until January to pass it. President Obama has stated that he will veto the bill, and as Republicans in the House and Senate don’t have the two-thirds needed to override a veto, the bill is not expected to survive.
However, health care advocates have expressed concern that the bill will be a blueprint for a repeal of the 2010 health care law should a Republican be elected to the White House next year. An estimated 17.6 million Americans have gained health insurance coverage since the ACA’s provisions have taken effect. Repealing the law and doing away with the Medicaid expansion would disproportionately hurt low-income individuals.