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ObamaCare Repeal: Now Is the Time for Senate Republicans to Deliver

07/18/2017

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated that he will bring an ObamaCare repeal bill to the floor early next week for a motion to proceed. For those not familiar with a motion to proceed, it's a procedural vote that allows the Senate to consider a piece of legislation on the floor.

Eventually, though, the Senate will vote on language similar to the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, which repealed much of the 2010 health insurance law and passed both chambers of Congress before being vetoed by President Barack Obama.

There are some uncertainties regarding what legislative language the motion to proceed will cover. Presumably, the motion to proceed will be based on the House-passed version of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act, and vote on the 2015-style repeal language as an amendment. The amendment would become the base text of H.R. 1628.

FreedomWorks has issued a key vote in support of the motion to proceed, which we will triple-weight on our 2017 Congressional Scorecard, to begin the amendment process, starting with the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill as the base text.

Now, some may be wondering what the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill entails. First, it must be noted that this bill can't be considered "full repeal" because it doesn't touch Title I of ObamaCare, which includes the costly mandates that are driving up the cost of health insurance premiums on the nongroup market. The bill, however, did repeal most of the other significant parts of ObamaCare.

Here are some of the major aspects of ObamaCare that the 2015 bill repealed or altered:

  • Premium tax credit (Section 202)
  • Cost-sharing subsidies (Section 202)
  • Small business tax credit (Section 203)
  • Individual mandate (Section 204)
  • Employer mandate (Section 205)
  • Medicaid expansion (Section 207)
  • Cadillac tax (Section 209)
  • Tax on health savings accounts (Section 211)
  • Prescription drug tax
  • Medical device tax (Section 214)
  • Health insurance tax (Section 215)
  • Tanning tax (Section 219)
  • Net investment tax (Section 220)

The full section-by-section of the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill is available on the House Budget Committee website. There are a few things to note about the bill, though. The repeal of the reinsurance, risk corridor, and risk adjustment programs are no longer applicable, as these programs were transitional and expired at the beginning of 2017. Additionally, the individual and employer mandates weren't repealed, at least not in the true sense of the word. The penalties were zeroed out, though the mandates technically remained in statute.

At this point, there is a small group of moderates -- Sens. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) -- who have gone on record saying that they would vote against a motion to proceed on a bill that repeals ObamaCare without a replacement. On December 3, 2015, Sens. Capito, Murkowski, and Portman voted to pass the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, without a replacement. Sen. Collins, to no one's surprise, was one of two Republicans to vote against the bill. (There's a reason we have a press release template ready to go for when Sen. Collins votes against conservative priorities.)

From FreedomWorks perspective, and undoubtedly the minds of conservative grassroots activists, a vote against the motion to proceed is a vote to keep ObamaCare. There are no more excuses. With a Republican president urging the Senate to pass the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill and pledging to sign it into law, we finally have the opportunity to accomplish a big victory. Don't let this moment pass.