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Repeal and replace of ACA now DOA, prompting calls for bipartisan fix

Gardner warns against 'spiking the football' on the American people

July 18, 2017, 12:27 pm
Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act have failed, The New York Times and other media outlets are reporting, and that’s prompted a bipartisan groups of governors — including Democrat John Hickenlooper of Colorado — to call for a bipartisan congressional effort to fix the ACA, stabilize health insurance markets and bring down health care costs.

Gov. John Hickenlooper

Gov. John Hickenlooper

Not only has the Better Care Reconciliation Act failed to win enough Republican support in the Senate, but calls for a clean repeal by President Donald Trump and others appear doomed as well.

“With their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in tatters, Senate leaders on Tuesday pushed to vote on a different measure that would repeal major parts of President Barack Obama’s health law without a replacement — but that plan also appeared to collapse,” The Times reported Tuesday.

“Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska immediately declared they could not vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement — enough to doom the effort before it could get any momentum.”

That prompted this statement from a bipartisan group of governors, including Hickenlooper:

“Congress should work to make health insurance more affordable by controlling costs and stabilizing the market, and we are pleased to see a growing number of senators stand up for this approach. The Senate should immediately reject efforts to ‘repeal’ the current system and replace sometime later. This could leave millions of Americans without coverage. The best next step is for both parties to come together and do what we can all agree on: fix our unstable insurance markets. Going forward, it is critically important that governors are brought to the table to provide input, and we stand ready to work with lawmakers in an open, bipartisan way to provide better insurance for all Americans.”

Here’s the list of 11 governors who sent out that statement: Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, Hickenlooper, Massachusetts Gov. Charles D. Baker, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Sen. Cory Gardner

Sen. Cory Gardner

Republican Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, during a Senate leadership press conference on Capitol Hill, warned pro-Obamacare politicians against “spiking the football” to celebrate the apparent death of Trumpcare.

“The average premium rate increase for the next year will be 27 percent, but that’s if you’re lucky enough to live in the Front Range of Colorado,” Gardner said, referring to a Colorado Division of Insurance report on individual and small-group market rate-increase requests for 2018. “If you live on the Eastern Plains or the Western Slope, you’re going to pay 30 percent more, you’re going to pay 40 percent more.

“That’s spiking the football on the American people who will continue to pay more under the Affordable Care Act that is collapsing. We will continue our work to get our job done to make sure that the status quo no longer stands and instead we provide relief to the American people.”

Colorado’s other U.S. Senator, Democrat Michael Bennet, tweeted this on Tuesday: “It’s now time for a bipartisan process that will lead to a bill that is actually responsive to Americans & fixes our health care system.”

The Small Business Majority issued this statement Tuesday morning:

Now is the Time for a Bipartisan Healthcare Bill That Will Help Small Businesses

Statement from Small Business Majority Founder & CEO John Arensmeyer on why the GOP’s latest setback to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act underscores the need for a bipartisan solution to healthcare problems

Given last night’s news that Senate Republicans do not have enough votes to pass the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) in its present form, lawmakers should work toward a bipartisan solution that would stabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces because doing so will greatly benefit our nation’s small businesses.

The secretive, exclusive process used by Senate Republicans to craft legislation that would repeal and replace the ACA has been nothing short of disgraceful. The BCRA in its current form is estimated to kick 22 million people off insurance by 2026, stifle entrepreneurial activity and stunt job growth, costing the U.S. economy an estimated one million jobs. It would also phase out the expansion of Medicaid, which covers millions of workers employed by small firms. What’s more, the BCRA would have created unbalanced risk pools that would have penalized small employers with older or sicker workers, driving up their costs, and made it nearly impossible for entrepreneurs with pre-existing conditions to access health coverage.

We know there is now talk of considering a “clean” repeal of the ACA, with a possible replacement plan to come at some later date. If lawmakers choose to go down that road, it would be nothing short of a disaster for small businesses. With no viable path forward for the BCRA, repealing major portions of the ACA would return our healthcare system to the state it was in before the healthcare law was enacted–a time when small firms frequently faced double digit premium increases every year, and aspiring entrepreneurs with pre-existing conditions couldn’t start their own businesses because they could not afford their own insurance.

We absolutely cannot retreat to that chaotic environment, which is why Democrats and Republicans must now work together to stabilize and strengthen the ACA for the good of America’s job creators.



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