Senate begins vote on Obamacare replacement
U.S. Senate Republicans, after passing the procedural motion needed to begin debate, have begun voting on legislation to repeal and possibly replace the Affordable Care Act. All 48 Democrats voted against the procedural motion, along with two Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie for a 51-50 vote.
During the past months, the WSMA has raised significant concerns about efforts in Congress to repeal and replace the ACA, including the American Health Care Act that passed the House and the Better Care Reconciliation Act proposed in the Senate. For the WSMA, it comes down to the health of patients. It is clear these bills would reverse the substantial progress made in Washington state to reduce the number of people who are uninsured. Both bills would make affordable insurance unattainable for many. For those reasons, the WSMA cannot support either proposal. (At the time of this writing, the BCRA has failed to achieve the votes necessary to pass the Senate, but Republican lawmakers are continuing to seek consensus on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act.)
At the center of WSMA's principles for health care reform is access to comprehensive, affordable health care for all Washingtonians, including support for adequate funding of programs like Medicaid and Medicare and preservation of coverage attained through the Affordable Care Act. Our principles also call for stabilizing the health insurance market to ensure choice and insurer participation. Provisions under consideration by the House and Senate would greatly undermine these principles, exacerbating the problems with our health care system rather than improving them.
We at the WSMA urge Congress to put aside empty, partisan rhetoric and instead engage in bipartisan discussions with physicians and other health care organizations to improve the health care system to ensure access to high-quality, affordable care and coverage.