Republicans miss a golden opportunity to repeal Obamacare

Republicans miss a golden opportunity to repeal Obamacare

Republican disunity has again set back efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Special budget provisions used to speed through

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a press conference

Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Republican disunity has again set back efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Special budget provisions used to speed through the proposed legislation expire today.

Despite controlling the Senate 52-48, the opposition of four Republican senators forced the vote to be postponed. Republicans had hoped to pass the bill using the reconciliation instructions, which allow a bill to be passed with 51, instead of the usually required 60, votes.

Health care stocks surged following news of the bill’s sidelining. Hospital operators and insurers are concerned about reduced funding for Medicaid – the publicly funded health care system – with proposed cuts of $772 billion over 10 years and a rise in the number of uninsured Americans from 26 million to 49 million.

The expansion of Medicaid under Obama and the increase in insurance coverage saw health insurers pocket an extra $13.1 billion in 2016, up 46% from 2015.

Moving forward, President Trump has declared his intention to work with Democrats to pass a bill by early next year. Should that fail, Republicans can pass a new set of reconciliation instructions. In either case, compromises will have to be made before a new deal can manifest.

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