As Senate Republicans continue work on revising the stalled Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA) (TAXDAY, 2017/06/23, C.1), there is talk on Capitol Hill that intraparty consensus on the measure may not be obtained. The BCRA, as currently written, would repeal and replace, in part, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) and related taxes.
“If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to private health insurance markets must occur,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said at a Rotary Club meeting on July 7, according to several reports. “No action is not an alternative,” he added.
Shortly after McConnell’s statements, reports began swirling that he may be signaling a shift toward approaching health care reform on a bipartisan basis. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., soon after also released a statement fueling this notion.
“It’s encouraging that Sen. McConnell today acknowledged that the issues with the exchanges are fixable and opened the door to bipartisan solutions to improve our health care system,” Schumer said. “As we’ve said time and time again, Democrats are eager to work with Republicans to stabilize the markets and improve the law.”
McConnell’s Communications Director David Popp, however, has suggested otherwise. Popp told Wolters Kluwer on July 7 that McConnell’s statement on private health insurance markets, although receiving an uptick in attention, is not a turn of events, pointing to the same remarks having been made by McConnell at the White House a week earlier (TAXDAY, 2017/06/28, C.1).
Congress is scheduled to return to Washington the week of July 10.
By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff