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Vote on Health Care Bill Stalls in Senate

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published April 26, 2021 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

It’s deja vu all over again for Republican leaders and their plan for health care reform.

After first aiming to vote on the proposed health care bill prior to the July 3, 2017 recess, the Senate has delayed that vote until after the weeklong holiday.

The announcement came exactly one week before the GOP’s self-administered voting deadline and came under all-too-familiar terms: the votes simply aren’t there.

At least nine Republican senators have expressed opposition to the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which was spawned from the House version of the bill, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Assuming there will be no Democratic support of the new bill, Republicans can only afford to lose two members of their own caucus and still have the bill pass.

This wasn’t the first time a vote on Republican efforts at health care reform was delayed. The AHCA was scheduled to be voted on by the House of Representatives in March but was pulled from the floor at the last minute because it did not garner enough Republican support to pass. After some amending, the House finally voted in May and the bill passed with a narrow 217-213 margin.

Health care reform chalkboard

Trouble in the Senate

Despite the victory in the House, the health care bill was not warmly welcomed by the Senate. Rather than voting on the bill as it stood then, the Senate decided it would scrap the bill, draft its own version and then vote on that. A 13-member team was assembled to write up the revised bill and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed desire to vote on it before the weeklong recess that began July 3.   

Delaying the vote allows GOP leadership time to make amendments to the bill, conduct further negotiations with the opposition and even get a revised score from the Congressional Budget Office.    

The bill has been met with resistance by Democrats and Republicans alike. The CBO estimates 22 million Americans will lose health insurance coverage by 2026, in large part due to reductions in Medicaid funding.

Should the bill pass the Senate, it will then need to be reconciled with the House bill before President Trump can sign the legislation into law.

Learn more about the AHCA by reading these featured articles:



Business Insider:

Congressional Budget Office:

The New York Times:

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