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On the Hill: Senate Shifts Strategy to Repeal and Delay

Senate leadership appears to be moving on to a repeal-and-delay strategy for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) amid lack of support for its Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) of 2017, legislation to repeal and replace the ACA and impose major cuts to Medicaid.

On Monday, the BCRA stalled after two additional Republicans — Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) — unexpectedly announced they would not support the bill as written. The loss of support from Lee and Moran means Senate leaders lack the votes necessary to proceed to debate on the measure.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) now says he will bring up a repeal-only bill that includes a two-year transition period for Congress to enact a full replacement of the ACA. However, three Republican senators — Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — have announced they will oppose the plan, leaving leadership short of the necessary votes. America’s Essential Hospitals in a statement strongly opposed such a repeal-and-delay strategy, as it would leave health care coverage for millions of people in limbo and destabilize the individual market.

Committee Activity

Meanwhile, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on July 18 held a hearing to examine the Health Resources and Service Administration’s 340B Drug Pricing Program.

The House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee on July 19 will hold a hearing on efforts to combat waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicare program.

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About the Author

Erin Delaney is the legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.