July 17, 2017

U.S. Senate Postpones Action on Healthcare

Senate Republicans released their revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BRCA), their Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement, on Thursday. The draft was met with continued concern or opposition from nine Republican senators, most serving states that expanded Medicaid under ACA and saw a reduction in the uninsured population, who worry about the impact cuts to Medicaid, among other provisions, will have on vulnerable constituents.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) previously estimated that the $772 billion in cuts would result in 22 million fewer people would having Medicaid coverage. Expecting a new CBO analysis on the revised bill to be released today, Republican leadership was looking to move BRCA forward as early as tomorrow. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that the Senate will postpone action on their healthcare reform bill, giving time for Senator John McCain to recover from a medical procedure. The delay also gives more time for opposition to organize.

Currently, two Republican senators – Susan Collins and Rand Paul – are expected to join their 48 Democratic colleagues in voting against the bill. Proponents of BRCA will need the 50 remaining Senate Republicans in support. A 50-50 count in the Senate would allow Vice President Mike Pence to cast the deciding vote.

California Legislative Deadlines

State lawmakers on Friday had to meet a legislative deadline requiring most bills to be acted on by a policy committee. The two HOAC supported bills listed below were not heard by Friday’s deadline. They are inactive for the year and can move forward again in 2018.

  • AB 62 (Wood), a bill to prohibit the use of tobacco products in public housing units. 
  • SB 210 (Leyva), which would require schools to take steps to ensure pupils have access to safe drinking water that is free of contamination from lead and other sources. 

The State Senate and Assembly will adjourn for Summer Recess on Friday, reconvening on August 21.