Last night, more Republican Senators made it clear that they would not vote to open debate on the latest version of the health care bill.
Within a couple of hours, Majority Leader McConnell announced that he would bring up a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but delay its taking effect for two years, during which time the Congress would need to pass a replacement plan for the president to sign.
This is a bad idea.
The last time the Congress tried something similar was during a budget impasse. They put in place a sequester program that capped budget allocations for both discretionary and defense spending. The theory was that both parties would want to cooperate so they could allocate more money for their budget priorities. The reality was that no agreement was reached and there were some years that Congress didn’t even pass its appropriations bills, but used a series of continuing resolutions to fund the various departments.
This does not give high confidence that Congress would pass a replacement bill before the deadline.
Insurance companies and health care facilities are upset because this would create so much uncertainty for them.
The general public is concerned because the repeal is expected to immediately raise premiums and reduce the number of people who can afford insurance.
There are senators across the political spectrum calling for a new process to begin, involving input from all senators, along with public health professionals and the public, to craft health care reforms that will increase the availability and affordability of health care.
I hope that Senator McConnell will choose to engage in this more cooperative process which is in line with the way the Senate has traditionally operated.