Senate Republicans early Friday morning failed to advance a scaled-back plan or “skinny” version to overhaul the Affordable Care Act (ACA) failed by a margin of 51 – 49, leaving uncertainty as to the next steps involving the embattled 2010 health law.

The latest effort to repeal parts of the ACA failed after Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) joined with Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and all Senate Democrats voting in opposition in spite of pressure from President Trump, Vice President Pence, and GOP leadership.

After weeks of closed-door negotiations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) unveiled a draft of the proposed bill only a few hours prior to Friday morning’s vote.  McConnell had hoped the Senate would approve the new, narrower rewrite of the health law after facing several amendments from Democrats.

Among other changes, the bill would have repealed parts of the ACA including the individual coverage mandate permanently, the employer mandate for eight years, the medical device tax for three years, and would have allowed more pre-tax money to pay for health savings accounts.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that 16 million people would lose coverage and premiums would rise by approximately 20 percent per year between 2018 to 2026, while reducing the deficit by nearly $179 billion over that same time frame.

SDAHO joined with national partners, LeadingAge, American Hospital Association (AHA) and others in opposing efforts to repeal parts of the ACA due to estimated drastic reductions in coverage for millions and detrimental changes to the Medicaid program.  Although the current effort to repeal the ACA utilizing the reconciliation process has failed, there is consensus that changes to the bill are needed.  SDAHO will continue to work with our congressional delegation seeking meaningful improvements in the legislation for South Dakotans and all Americans.