After the narrow defeat of Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement plans in the Senate, Senators have left for August recess without voting on other proposals. At the nail-biting conclusion of a week-long debate, the Senate voted 51-49 against the “skinny repeal” bill that would repeal mandates and many of the taxes associated with the ACA. Several Senators have realized that the only path forward requires bipartisan cooperation, despite a highly-polarized environment.
A bipartisan solution will most likely include state flexibility and market stabilization that Republicans desire and funding for cost-sharing subsidies that Democrats support. A recent Politico article states, “Republicans will seek a more flexible 1332 waiver — an existing Obamacare provision that allows states to make changes to the law’s requirements, according to GOP sources. Democrats say funding the approximately $7 billion annual payment to insurance companies to help cover low-income people is the minimum requirement for a deal. The Trump administration has said it is ready to pull the monthly payments at any time in response to the failed repeal effort, a move that could immediately drive companies off the exchanges and further undermine the Obamacare markets.”
Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee leadership will set the tone for future replacement proposals. Sen. Alexander (R-TN), the Chairman of the Committee, along with Sen. Murray (D-WA), the Ranking Minority, must bridge the chasm between viewpoints on opposite ends of the spectrum on the HELP Committee.
ACA replacement plans could have a critical impact on the rare disease community. Click here to read the full article from Politico.