Whatês next for health care?
Repeal of Obamacare is dead for now. The U.S. Senate repeal-and-replace measure failed when four senators announced their opposition. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
is determined to schedule a vote on repeal with no replacement. But since the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that measure would result in 32 million people losing health insurance by 2026, many senators, Republicans and Democrats are reluctant to vote for it.
President Trump, after encouraging Republican members of Congress to let Obamacare fail, changed his mind and said the Senate should not leave for the August recess until it passes a health care bill. Some Republican senators have mentioned the possibility of working with Democrats to come up with a bill that will garner some Democratic votes. No Democrats have voted for repeal, but they have said they are willing to negotiate to improve the current law.
When the Senate bill was still on the table, the Pacific Business Group on Health, representing large businesses like Boeing and Walmart, expressed concern that costs would shift to business if the bill passed. Privately insured patients generally pay more for health insurance than those in the public sector, and the group worried their share would increase if more people lost insurance. Most businesses would be happy to see the end of the employer mandate, but thatês just one aspect of a repeal bill. And millions would still lose insurance, which makes a repeal vote politically difficult.
So Republican senators may well reach out to Democrats to negotiate changes to the current law. Media reports have said that members of both parties want to make changes that would help small businesses and reduce premiums.
On the local front, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, both signed a letter urging Congress to stop trying to repeal Obamacare. They were among a bipartisan group of 11 governors who signed the statement. It read, in part, Congress should work to make health insurance more affordable by controlling costs and stabilizing the market.Download Bulletin PDF