News | Cardiovascular Business | July 26, 2017

Senate Opens Debate on Better Care Reconciliation Act

ACC opposes legislation; first full Obamacare repeal-and-replace legislation voted down following opening of debate; multiple versions expected to be unveiled in quick succession

Senate Opens Debate on Better Care Reconciliation Act

July 26, 2017 — The U.S. Senate voted Monday, with a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, to begin debate on the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the legislation drafted by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell immediately called a vote on the first version of the bill, which was defeated 57-43.

Since the 115th Congress began session in January, Republicans in the House and Senate have made repealing the ACA, also known as Obamacare, a top priority. The House passed its version of a repeal-and-replace bill, called the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in April after lengthy debate and the withdrawal of the first version by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Both chambers have seen progress stalled by extensive disagreements between moderates and the most conservative members of the Republican party.

The version of the BCRA defeated on Tuesday was designed to appease the moderate Republican faction by adding back Obamacare taxes removed from prior iterations, including the net investment income tax, the additional Medicare Health Insurance Tax and a tax on high-earning health insurance executives. The bill included an amendment, introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), that would have allowed insurance providers to sell stripped-down plans that did not comply with ACA requirements as long as they offer at least one policy that does. The final major piece was a $70 billion allotment for states to help consumers with paying out-of-pocket healthcare costs in the form of cost-sharing or health savings accounts.

Intact from the first version of the Senate bill was the gradual rollback of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. Under McConnell’s vision, Medicaid would be changed from an open-ended entitlement program to a fixed amount of money granted to states based on enrollment or as a block grant. The BCRA would reduce the annual growth rate of those funds beginning in 2020.

With the failure of the full repeal-and-replace legislation, Republican leadership may eventually introduce a “skinny” version that only repeals a few ACA requirements to try to ensure passage. These would include the individual and employer insurance mandates, the medical device tax and the public health fund, according to the Washington Post.

The heathcare debate has been heavily criticized by medical societies and insurance providers because the Republican-led efforts fail to address actual healthcare concerns, may increase healthcare costs and will leave millions of patients currently insured uninsured. 

“In light of new analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it is clear that the health reform measures being contemplated in the Senate, whether the Better Care Reconciliation Act or the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, would result in the loss of insurance coverage for millions of Americans, limiting access to care for those who need it most," said American College of Cardiology President Mary Norine Walsh, M.D., FACC. “The American College of Cardiology opposes both of these approaches to health reform. Instead, we urge Senate leaders and members on both sides of the aisle to work in an open, bipartisan process to advance concepts that align with the ACC’s Principles for Health Reform. These principles prioritize patient access to meaningful insurance coverage and protection for individuals with pre-existing conditions, goals that would advance the outcome we all strive for: a healthcare system that strengthens and secures the highest quality care for all Americans.”

Read about the "Affordable Care Act "Skinny Repeal" Defeated in Senate," news from July 28, 2017.

For more information: www.senate.gov

Related Content

Researchers raised the question whether an economic benefit should be assessed in FDA reviews. A large amount of the bill for atrial fibrillation catheter ablation procedures is the cost of the mapping and ablation catheters.

A large amount of the bill for atrial fibrillation catheter ablation procedures is the cost of the mapping and ablation catheters. Researchers raised the question whether an economic benefit should be assessed in FDA reviews. 

Feature | Cardiovascular Business | January 14, 2019 | Philip Jacobs, DPhil, Ilke Akpinar, M.D., Thanh Nguyen, M.D., Ph.D., Rupinder Sandhu, M.D., and Lars Thording Ph.D.
In an age when everything in medicine is now looked at though a cost vs. benefit analysis and U.S.
GE Submits Initial Public Offering Paperwork for Healthcare Division
News | Cardiovascular Business | December 19, 2018
As part of its plans to spin off its healthcare division into a separate company, GE reportedly submitted the paperwork...
Affordable Care Act Ruled Unconstitutional in Texas Federal Court
News | Cardiovascular Business | December 17, 2018
A judge of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled the Affordable Care Act (ACA)...
Average Age of U.S. Cardiologists Up While Income is Down
News | Cardiovascular Business | October 25, 2018
Overall cardiology compensation has dropped for the first time since 2014, according to the sixth annual Cardiovascular...
American Heart Association and The Joint Commission Merge Cardiac Certification Programs
News | Cardiovascular Business | October 15, 2018
The nation’s two leading cardiac accreditation and certification organizations are joining forces to offer a single...
ZHealth Launches Etch Cardiovascular Coding Software
Technology | Cardiovascular Business | October 10, 2018
October 10, 2018 — Medical coding software provider ZHealth recently unveiled Etch, the first-ever software platform
A hands-on-training session at TCT 2018 that instructed interventional cardiologists how to use an intra-cardiac echo (ICE) catheter to image the chambers inside the heart with a catheter based ultrasound imaging system.  The training area was sponsored by Siemens Healthineers

A Siemens-sponsored hands-on-training session at TCT 2018 that instructed interventional cardiologists how to use an intra-cardiac echo (ICE) catheter to image the chambers inside the heart with a catheter based ultrasound imaging system.  Regular training is needed to build customer satisfaction, especially in light of regular staff turnover.

Feature | Cardiovascular Business | October 10, 2018 | John Larson
Years ago, I owned a computer that ran a spreadsheet program called Lotus 1-2-3.
GlobalData: Amazon Poised to Make Huge Strides in Healthcare
News | Cardiovascular Business | August 31, 2018
A new report from data and analytics company GlobalData suggests that Amazon is poised to make huge strides in...
CMS Proposes Overhaul of Medicare's Accountable Care Organization Program
News | Cardiovascular Business | August 09, 2018
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule August 9 that would overhaul the Medicare...
ECRI Institute Announces New Clinical Guideline Repository Website
News | Cardiovascular Business | July 27, 2018
July 27, 2018 — Following the deactivation of the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) by the Agency for Healthcare
Overlay Init