The Senate has now defeated two of its health care proposals – one to “repeal and replace” the ACA and gut Medicaid (also known as the “Better Care Reconciliation Act”) and one to “repeal and not replace” major sections of the ACA.
Senate leadership has one more trick to try to keep alive their efforts to decimate our health care system. They’re calling it “Skinny Repeal.” It’s deceptive, dangerous, and the end goal is anything but skinny.
Under this plan, Senators will vote on a stripped down “repeal” proposal that repeals only three parts of the Affordable Care Act: the individual mandate, the employer mandate, and the tax on medical device manufacturers. These are among the least popular parts of the current law, which is why Senator McConnell and other leaders hope they can at last get a majority vote to move it forward.
The “Skinny Repeal” plan is bad enough – it would lead to 16 million fewer Americans having health insurance. But that’s not the real problem. As soon as the Senate passes “Skinny Repeal,” Senator McConnell and Representative Ryan will retreat behind closed doors to craft a “compromise” bill that the House and Senate will be asked to pass. The bill they write will look nothing like “Skinny Repeal.” In fact, senators have already said that the deeply unpopular House “American Health Care Act” bill would serve as the starting point. That means Skinny Repeal will lead directly back to a proposal that slashes premium subsidies, weakens consumer protections, and ends Medicaid as we know it.
It’s hard to see how taking a bill that would lead to 23 million Americans losing their health insurance and giving two people the power to turn it into a final proposal with no transparency is going to make our health care system better.
Any Senator who has ever said, “I need to see the legislation before I decide how I will vote” should vote NO on so-called Skinny Repeal. Any Senator who cares about health care should vote NO. And any Senator who cares about transparency and responsibility in governing should vote NO. This bill is nothing but a shell to allow Congress to keep advancing policies that would destroy our country’s health care system.