While the country remains focused on James Comey’s testimony, Senate Republicans have continued working behind the scenes to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And as of this week, it appears their efforts are ramping up.
Despite predictions over the last few weeks from prominent Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham that their effort would ultimately fail, many Republicans have now changed their tune. After closed door meetings on Tuesday, former critics, Graham included, sounded hopeful that a bill could actually be passed.
In fact, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pressing for a vote before the Senate leaves for its July 4th recess. In order to speed up proceedings, McConnell began the process under Rule 14 which allows a bill to bypass committee review and be sent directly to the senate floor for a vote. In essence, it skips a standard operating procedure that requires a committee report to be available for 48 hours prior to a vote.
Unlike House Republicans, however, Senate Republicans intend to wait for a CBO score before voting. They’re not eager to face the backlash members of the house did when they voted for their version of the AHCA without first seeing the CBO report. That particular report revealed that 23 million Americans would lose their health insurance under the house proposal.
But under rule 14, Republicans can vote as soon as the updated report is available, leaving little time for public debate. To top it off, they’re working the bill through a process called reconciliation which allows them to pass a bill with only 50 votes and avoid a potential Democratic filibuster. (In the event the vote is tied at 50, Vice President Mike Pence would serve as the tie-breaking vote.)
Now, more than ever, it is important to make sure your voice is heard about this issue. Do not let the health care debate take place solely behind closed doors. Even if an updated bill protects preexisting condition provisions, cutting Medicaid, a goal of many Republicans, would still leave millions of Americans without health care. The most vulnerable populations need your help.