Senate on Brink of Ripping Away Coverage and Protections for Millions of Americans

By Kyle Taylor July 26, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2017

CONTACT: Kyle Taylor
Senior Manager, Communications, NASTAD
ktaylor@NASTAD.org | 202-434-7134

Senate on Brink of Ripping Away Coverage and Protections for Millions of Americans

On Tuesday, the Senate voted by a razor thin margin to open up debate on an ACA repeal and replace bill. Fifty Republicans voted for the Motion, with only two Senate Republicans (Senator Murkowski of Alaska and Senator Collins of Maine) voting against it. Vice President Pence provided the deciding vote.  In a dramatic departure from legislative process norms, the Senate voted on the Motion to Proceed without finalizing what bill the Senate would actually take up.

“For any Senator that has professed to care about people living with pre-existing conditions, including HIV and hepatitis, now is the time to step up and protect those populations,” noted NASTAD Executive Director Murray Penner. “The only rational option is for Congress to abandon its attempt to ram through an unworkable plan, and start work on bipartisan healthcare legislation that preserves our common values to provide care and treatment to all Americans, regardless of income or health status.” 

As the Senate prepares for 20 hours of debate on ACA repeal and replace, including an unlimited amendment process, there are several bills at play:

The Senate voted on the first bill Tuesday night, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Senate’s beleaguered ACA repeal and replace bill. Because provisions fell outside of the scope of the budget reconciliation process, this bill needed 60 votes to pass, and it failed by a vote of 43 to 57.
Next, the Senate will vote on a clean ACA repeal bill, with a two-year delay (similar to what the House and Senate passed in 2015). This bill – which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will rip coverage away from 32 million Americans – will need 50 votes to pass.
Finally, a new option may be introduced for a partial repeal that ends the individual mandate, employer mandate, and several ACA-related taxes, an option that would likely immediately destabilize the ACA Marketplaces.

“The Senate must reject any healthcare bill that rolls back coverage, undercuts federal support for Medicaid, or eliminates critical protections for people living with pre-existing conditions, including HIV and hepatitis,” Penner concluded. NASTAD, along with national HIV and hepatitis partners, will continue to educate Senate offices on the importance of preserving coverage, affordability, and lifesaving services for people living with and at risk for HIV and hepatitis.

About NASTAD

Founded in 1992, NASTAD is a leading non-partisan non-profit association that represents public health officials who administer HIV and hepatitis programs in the U.S. and around the world. Our singular mission is to end the intersecting epidemics of HIV, viral hepatitis, and related conditions. We do this work by strengthening domestic and global governmental public health through advocacy, capacity building, and social justice.