Senate Continues Work on Healthcare Reform Bill; Floor Vote May Be Delayed

Although Senate Republicans hope to vote on legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) before the July 4 recess, it could be delayed according to Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), who indicated this week that the end of July is also a possibility. Legislative text remains to be seen, and still at issue are the handling of essential health benefits that were included in the ACA, as well as pre-existing conditions and the timeline of the rollback of Medicaid expansion. Senate Republicans also are considering options to fund short-term subsidies, such as a $15 billion risk pool fund, that would help to stabilize the individual market during the transition to a longer-term approach. Sen. Cornyn said that nothing has been finalized, but the end goal is coverage for more Americans without the ACA’s individual mandate.

Senate leaders are reportedly working with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) during the process and have said that they will send the bill to the CBO for evaluation before it is released to the public.

Earlier today, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to request an "all-senators meeting" in the Old Senate Chamber next week. Senate Democrats, as well as some Republicans, have expressed frustration at the closed-door deliberations on health care in the chamber and wish to engage in a more transparent, bipartisan approach.

We will keep you updated.