Senate Republican leaders announced today in Washington that they are giving up on trying to get the Better Care Reconciliation Act bill to the Senate floor for a vote this week.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said at a press conference, which was streamed live on C-SPAN, that Senate Republicans need more time to talk about the bill.
“We’re still optimistic we’re going to get there and get a result better than the status quo,” McConnell said.
President Donald Trump has invited Senate Republicans to a meeting on the BCRA bill at 4 p.m. today, McConnell said.
“He wanted to talk to us all together today,” McConnell said.
In the past few weeks, “the White House has been very much involved” in discussions about the bill, McConnell said. “We hope members over there.”
The BCRA Bill
The BCRA bill is the Senate’s version of H.R. 1628. Members of the House passed another version of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act bill, by a 217-213 vote, May 4.
Both the Senate BCRA bill and the House AHCA bill would replace the current Affordable Care Act public exchange plan premium tax credit system, repeal Affordable Care Act penalties and taxes, and give states a mechanism they could use to waive some Affordable Care Act health insurance rules.
Both versions would also replace Affordable Care Act health insurance market stabilization funding programs with new state grant programs.
The Legislative Process
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who also spoke at the press conference, said the Senate needs to make health system changes quickly.
“The pain of Obamacare continues to get worse,” Barrasso said.
McConnell noted that Democrats faced delays when they were working to pass the bills that created the Affordable Care Act, in 2009 and 2010. He said he thinks Republican senators simply need more time.
“This is a big, complicated subject,” McConnell said.
Senate supporters of the BCRA bill have faced skepticism from the right, from senators such as Rand Paul, R-Ky., who say the bill would leave too much of the current Affordable Care Act system in place.