Senate Majority Leader McConnell Announces Vote on Affordable Care Act Repeal to Occur this Week
Senate May Amend House-Passed Legislation to Include Language Phasing Out Medicaid Expansion
December 2, 2015 10:16 AM
On Tuesday, December 1, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the Senate will vote this week on the Restoring Americans’ Health Care Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015 (H.R. 3762) to repeal provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) using a process requiring only 51 votes for passage. In addition, the Senate will reportedly consider amendments to the House-passed legislation, including language to phase out Medicaid expansion. While the language phasing out Medicaid expansion was not included in the House-passed bill, Senate Republicans may vote on an amendment addressing the issue in order to attract conservatives who have expressed reservations that the House bill would not repeal enough of the ACA. In the event that the Senate passes the bill, President Barack Obama is widely expected to veto the measure.
During a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Leader McConnell predicted that the Senate will pass the bill by securing at least 51 votes. He further stated that the President “can’t be shielded from the weighty decision he’ll finally have to make when this measure lands right on his desk.” He noted, “it’s a choice the President has never faced before,” and one that “he’s gonna face after Senate action this week.”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid downplayed the significance of the vote in comments reported by The Hill. “The Republican leader has an obsession with the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “I'm sure he's going to come and talk about what a great victory it was on this reconciliation… It will pass and go to the president, and he'll veto it in about 10 seconds. And, of course, the veto will certainly be sustained.”
Leader McConnell’s prediction that the bill will receive enough votes to pass the Senate followed reports that he intends to allow consideration of an amendment to the bill that would phase out the Medicaid expansion under the ACA. According to POLITICO, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), who had previously expressed concern that the House bill did not repeal enough of the ACA, on Tuesday expressed approval of Leader McConnell’s plans to expand on the measure. “I like where it’s heading. It looks good,” Senator Lee said, according to POLITICO.
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) supported the Medicaid expansion under the ACA, which includes specific home care provisions. In its 2015 Legislative Blueprint for Action, NAHC expressed opposition to any reductions to the federal commitment to Medicaid home and community-based care.
NAHC Reportwill continue to provide updates regarding the status of the legislation.