Health Reform WK-EDGE House and Senate pull out all the stops to halt ACA
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

House and Senate pull out all the stops to halt ACA

The repeal and replacement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) will take place at the same time, according to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis). Ryan’s announcement was made the day after President-elect Trump announced the repeal and replacement of the ACA would be done "essentially simultaneously." Lawmakers have already begun paving the way for repeal of the health law with the passage of resolutions in the House and Senate. Republicans in both houses of Congress are relying on unorthodox measures to affect repeal and replacement of the ACA.

Concurrent resolution. The concurrent resolution (S. Con. Res. 3), which passed 51-48 without amendment, authorizes repeal through the budget resolution process—a mechanism requiring only a simple majority vote for success. The budget resolution also allows Republican senators to avoid the threat of a filibuster. The resolution instructs House and Senate committees to develop repeal legislation by January 27, 2017

Objections. Democratic senators voiced objections to the action during the voting roll call. In turn, Democrats raised objections to the resolution, noting that repeal would remove protections for rural hospitals, block patient access to affordable drugs, and undermine money-saving aspects of Medicare. As the Democrats made objections, the presiding officer, Senator Cory Gardner, (R-Colo) banged his gavel to note that debate is not allowed during a vote.

Timeline. The resolution instructs House and Senate committees to develop repeal legislation by January 27, 2017. Some Republican Senators sought to delay the deadline, expressing concerns that January 27 would be too soon to draft repeal legislation. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said the "date is not a date that is set in stone." Portman indicated the drafting of a repeal bill could take longer.

House passage. On January 13, 2017, the House passed the concurrent resolution by a vote of 227-198. Concurrent resolutions are non-binding and do not require the approval of the president; therefore, the concurrent resolution is in effect and will not be presented to either President Obama or President Trump for signature.

House rules. The House resolution (H.R. 5), which passed 234-193, instructs the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to analyze all bills that will cause a net increase in direct spending except for bills pertaining to the repeal or replacement of the ACA—a limitation that lies in conflict with the CBO’s declaration that its "work reflects the agency’s objective, impartial, and nonpartisan analytical judgment." The resolution seeks to further upend the status quo under its Title II with a proposal to repeal the Chevron and Auer doctrines to "end judicial deference to bureaucrats’ statutory and regulatory interpretations." Limitation on those doctrines would significantly impact the rulemaking and interpretive powers of HHS, CMS, and the FDA.

Legislation: FederalLegislation NewsFeed AgencyNews GeneralNews TrumpAdministrationNews

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