After the Senate rejected a straight repeal of the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday night, Senate leaders are now working to round up enough votes for a bare-bones bill to repeal the ACA’s individual and employer mandates and the medical device tax.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is aiming for a vote on Friday, and is telling senators that there will be opportunities to add more provisions to the plan when the Senate bill is conferenced with the House. It’s not clear that the strategy will convince enough conservatives and moderate Republicans to vote for a “skinny” repeal.
Moderate Republicans like Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) are undecided on the skinny bill and want funding added to treat opioid addiction. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), who has been critical of previous proposals to slash funding for Medicaid expansion, said he would probably back the skinny bill.
“We’ll see at the end of the day what’s in it, but overall I think I’d support it,” Heller said.
Senate leaders said this is the best chance for getting to conference with the House on health reform. “We’re trying to explore the way forward,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX). “And to me, this seems to have a lot of benefits to getting us to conference. We could use the template that the House has that addresses all of the issues, and then come up with the best of the ideas that we’ve developed.”