More on Policy and Legislation

Repeal and delay of Affordable Care Act fails to win majority vote

Debate continues as Senators have limited time to approve the bill that passed in the House to replace the ACA, the American Health Care Act.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

The Senate on Wednesday failed to get the votes needed to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act and delay the implementation for  two years.

The amendment included a ban of federal funding for abortions.

Senators have 12 hours left to debate the bill that passed in the House to replace the ACA, the American Health Care Act.

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Late Wednesday afternoon, Republicans took up Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's proposal to vote to repeal and delay for two years. It failed as a majority was needed and the vote was 55 "no" to 45 "yes."

On Tuesday, after narrowly passing a measure to open debate on the health bill in a 51-50 vote - with Vice President Mike Pence the tie-breaker - Senate Republicans failed to pass a bill that included the skinny plan proposal put forward by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

[Also: Debate begins on health bill after 51-50 Senate vote]

It failed in a vote of 43 votes in favor to 57 against. Cruz's amendment would have allowed insurers to offer two separate plans, one with comprehensive coverage compliant with the ACA, and another that would allow insures to sell bare bones plans to healthy consumers.

The Senate is expected later this week to hold a marathon session to vote on health bill amendments.

America's Essential Hospitals President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, said, "We're disappointed the Senate continues to pursue deeply unpopular and damaging plans to dismantle health care for millions of Americans. The Senate agreed today to open debate on alternatives to the Affordable Care Act, but all their plans to date would have the same terrible result: at least 22 million more uninsured people, devastating cuts to Medicaid, and higher costs for patients and taxpayers."

[Also: Congressional Budget Office review of American Health Care Act draws concern from industry insiders]

Siegel also opposed the Republican plan to eliminate Medicaid expansion and make the entitlement program a capped benefit run by states.

"We strongly oppose all plans so far to replace the Affordable Care Act and have no confidence lawmakers can overcome the flaws in these proposals," Siegel said.

Children's Hospital Colorado has asked U.S. Senator Cory Gardner of the state to carry an amendment to the bill to limit the Medicaid coverage losses for Colorado's kids.

"For more than a half-century, long before the Affordable Care Act  and long before the healthcare debate was poisoned by partisanship, the United States has protected kids in need of healthcare," said Bill Lindsay, chairman of the board at Children's Hospital Colorado.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse