Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) previewed in a floor speech Monday what is expected to be a slog of negotiations over a Senate Obamacare repeal bill, now that House Republicans have passed their own repeal legislation.
“This process will not be quick or simple or easy, but it must be done,” McConnell said.
A little over a month ago, McConnell seemed less than eager to take on Republicans’ longstanding promise to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, telling reporters after an earlier version of the House vote failed to move forward that “I’m sorry that didn’t work” and that Obamacare was “the status quo” going forward.
House Republicans were able to revive their bill by dragging it farther to the right with an amendment that made some of the ACA’s insurer mandates optional for the state. Almost immediately after the House bill passed by a razor-thin margin, Senate Republican leaders signaled that they would be writing a new health care repeal bill, which, if passed in the upper chamber, will be reconciled with the House legislation, the American Health Care Act.
The House legislation imposes major cuts onto Medicaid while phasing out the expansion of the program under the Affordable Care Act. Some Republicans in the Senate have raised concerns over the House bill’s Medicaid provisions, as well as with how it restructures the ACA’s tax credits and defunds Planned Parenthood.