Last Week in Healthcare: Who’s Behind the Senate’s Secret Healthcare Bill?

Posted June 12, 2017
By George McLaughlin

While the rest of the world tuned into last week’s episode of “The Commander in Chief” featuring a dramatic testimony from former FBI Director James Comey, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell quietly moved to accelerate the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

For those not up to speed, the House passed the American Healthcare Act in May. A bill most notable for featuring drastic cuts to Medicaid, the removal of provisions designed to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions, and tax cuts for families making greater than $250,000 a year. It also had the special honor of being introduced and voted on so quickly that congressional leaders are on record stating they didn’t actually have time to read the whole thing.

While some (myself included) held out hope that the Senate would drastically alter the bill and follow something resembling normal operating procedure before reintroducing legislation that will dramatically impact the health of our nation, it has become abundantly clear that this administration has no appetite for even thinly-veiled displays of bipartisanship. They’ll try to get their bill passed no matter what, and they have no interest in hearing anyone else’s opinion.

On June 7th, McConnell initiated a procedural step known as “Rule 14”. By doing so, McConnell can schedule the Senate’s version of the American Healthcare Act to be placed on the calendar for a vote without being debated in committees. This is a stark contrast from the Affordable Care Act, which considered over 130 amendments and was debated for 25 straight days by the entire Senate.

In a clip that went viral earlier this week, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), asked Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), whether the Senate’s version of the American Healthcare Act would be available for review prior to being voted on.