Senate Republican leaders say draft legislation to overhaul the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be released within days, although it’s not clear what it will contain. Private discussions among GOP senators continue about key provisions, including how to stabilize the individual market, provide protections for people with pre-existing conditions, phase out the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid, and repeal certain ACA taxes.
The Senate could vote on the measure next week, assuming a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is complete. GOP leaders intend to move the bill under special budget “reconciliation” rules which require only a simple majority vote, but garnering the needed 50 votes (assuming Vice President Pence casts the deciding vote) will be a challenge. Many Republican senators are withholding judgement until they see final bill language and a CBO score.
Senate GOP leaders want to quickly resolve the health care reform debate in order to move on to other legislative priorities and to build on the momentum created by last month’s House approval of the “American Health Care Act.” The House bill is supported by some business groups while drawing protests from Democrats, medical providers, unions, and consumer groups.