Republicans considered going this same route in January but abandoned that approach after just a few weeks of thinking about it. That’s because the effects of full repeal are devastating, and even Republicans know it:
- The Medicaid expansion ends in just two years
- Tax credits to help people afford insurance would disappear completely
- The wealthy and corporations would get a $631 billion tax cut
And unlike earlier versions of TrumpCare—as entirely inadequate as they were—there isn’t even an attempt to replace the ACA. Under this framework, which repeals as much of the law they can get away with through reconciliation, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 18 million Americans would lose their insurance in the first year, and a staggering 32 million by 2026. CBO also said premiums would increase by 25% in the first year and that they would double by 2026.
Every Republican but Senator Collins is on record supporting this approach
The Senate passed full repeal in 2015, knowing they didn’t need a replacement. That’s because everyone knew at the time President Obama would veto the repeal bill, so Republican Senators didn’t bother to come up with a different way to help people afford insurance once the tax credits were repealed, or a way to replace the coverage millions of Americans got for the first time through the Medicaid expansion. They didn’t have to consider that their plan would cause premiums to double. Unfortunately, it passed the Senate with 52 Republican votes, including many of the Senators now expressing doubts about TrumpCare. It was a reckless bill that would have been a catastrophe for the American people that fortunately died a prompt death under President Obama’s veto pen.
But, like all Republican health care bills apparently, it has now risen from the dead.
Republicans may try to argue that they are repealing now and will work on a replacement later that Democrats will be forced to negotiate on. This is nothing short of holding millions of lives hostage for their failed partisan agenda. Considering Republicans have been talking about this for 7 years, and McConnell just tried to construct a replacement that would pass the Senate—only to utterly fail—there is no reason to think they could craft a replacement later. And while McConnell plays this political game, millions of people will lose insurance, see their premiums skyrocket, delay important medical care, or go bankrupt.
How Republicans are trying to do this
The first hurdle Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans have to clear is a procedural vote called the “motion to proceed.” That vote means the Senate is agreeing to debate the bill. He intends to use the TrumpCare bill the House narrowly passed in May—the American Health Care Act—as the vehicle for this full repeal bill. That means when the Senate votes on the motion to proceed, they’ll actually be agreeing to debate the House bill. But the first amendment that McConnell will offer is one that strikes the entire House bill, and replaces it with the repeal bill from 2015.
We can stop them
No Senator should support this bill, whether they supported TrumpCare or not. The full repeal goes far beyond even what TrumpCare would do. That means every Senator should oppose both the bill and the motion to proceed, but especially the ones that “had concerns” with previous versions of TrumpCare. This is the most extreme attempt yet at dismantling people’s healthcare, but we’ve stopped or delayed all previous attempts. We can kill this bill, too.
SAMPLE CALL DIALOGUE
Caller: Hello! My name is [name] and I’m calling from [part of state]. Can you tell me how Senator [ ] plans to vote on the motion to proceed on the health care bill?
Staffer: The Senator hasn’t made a decision on that yet.
Caller: That’s terrible. Senator [ ] should absolutely oppose any attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This is a reckless move that Mitch McConnell is making out of desperation with no plan whatsoever as to how the ACA would be replaced. The Congressional Budget Office says 32 million people will lose their insurance and that premiums will double. How could Senator support that?
Staffer: But those numbers aren’t accurate because this is just repealing now with a replacement to come later. We won’t let people go without health insurance.
Calle: That’s ridiculous. If Congress can’t find a compromise today, why should we believe it will find one in a year or two? This is playing games with people's lives.
Staffer: Again, Senator hasn’t made a decision yet.
Caller: Well I want Senator [ ] to make a decision, and oppose any effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, especially if there is no plan in place to replace it. I want the Senator to vote against the motion to proceed and against the bill itself.
Staffer: Thank you. I’ll let the Senator know your thoughts.
Caller: Thank you. Please take down my contact information so you can let me know how Senator [ ] votes.