Members of the Senate blocked a fat Affordable Care Act (ACA) change proposal package Tuesday and are now getting ready later today on a skinny package.
Republicans in Senate are now trying to change the ACA by debating, amending and, possibly, passing their own version of H.R. 1628, a House bill that would repeal many parts of the Affordable Care Act and change others.
A list of proposed, approved and rejected amendments is available here.
Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate. Under Senate rules, Republicans need 60 votes to get an ordinary bill through the Senate, and just 51 votes to get a budget measure through. Because of that system, Republicans are trying to use a budget bill to change the ACA.
The Senate had to vote simply to start floor debate on the idea of changing the Affordable Care Act. Members of the Senate deadlocked 50-50 on the motion to proceed to debate on H.R. 1628. Vice President Mike Pence, who officially presides over the Senate, cast a vote to break the tie.
S.A. 267: A Proposed ACA Change Framework
Most of the bills and amendments now under serious consideration in the Senate would simply change the ACA, not repeal it.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced S.A. 267, the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017 proposal, to serve as a framework for ferrying ACA change proposals through the Senate.
S.A. 267 would replace the text of the House version of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act bill. The proposal would eliminate the ACA individual coverage mandate penalty, the ACA employer coverage offer mandate penalty, the ACA public exchange program subsidies, and other ACA taxes and penalties.
S.A. 267 would, for example, repeal the net investment tax on high earners for taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2016. It would eliminate the ACA Medicare surtax for tax years starting after Dec. 31, 2017.
The Senate is now considering a series of proposed amendments that could bolt on to the S.A. 267 framework.