On the night of Thursday, July 27, the United States Senate held a "vote-a-rama" on amendments to a bill to repeal aspects of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The legislation ultimately fell one vote short of passage.
When the Affordable Care Act was originally passed, it was passed as a "tax." Congressional Democrats used a parliamentary maneuver known as "budget reconciliation" to be able to pass it without needing a single Republican vote. This year, the Republican Party planned to repeal it using the same maneuver. To accomplish this, both the House and Senate would need to pass some type of repeal bill. Then, leaders from both chambers would meet for a conference to work on a compromise bill. In order for this to happen, the Senate had to pass something.
Ultimately, they arrived at a bill known as "skinny repeal." This bill would have eliminated the individual and employer mandates, and rolled-back the medical device tax. This bill was never intended to be the final bill, just something to get the House and Senate together to work on a compromise.
Just before midnight (Mountain Daylight Time), the Senate started voting. When the dust settled, they were one vote short. Republican Senators John McCain (AZ), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Susan Collins sided with Democrats to vote the Skinny Repeal down.
Here is how Colorado's Congressmen and Senators responded to the news that the Senate's Obamacare repeal effort failed.
Senator Michael Bennet (D)
Senator Michael Bennet has not kept his opinion on healthcare a secret. After the Senate voted the Skinny Repeal down by one vote, Bennet took to Twitter to release his public statement. While he declared that the defeat was a "win," he told supporters that they cannot afford to become complacent and must push forward.
The morning after, Senator Bennet posted a photo of him calling supporters and thanking them for fighting to stop the Obamacare repeal effort.
Senator Cory Gardner (R)
Prior to the vote, Senator Garner released a statement explaining why he voted to move forward with the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He reasoned that hundreds of thousands of Coloradans have had their plans cancelled and were forced 20-30 percent premium increases year after year.
Senator Gardner voted "Yes" on the Skinny Repeal.
Congresswoman Diana Degette (D)
Rep. Degette took to Twitter Friday morning to applaud the defeat of "Trumpcare" and encourage her colleagues to get to work in a bipartisan fashion the fix the Affordable Care Act that she had previously helped to pass.
Congressman Mike Coffman (R)
In recent days, Rep. Coffman has presented a three-part plan for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Earlier this month, he sent a letter to leadership in the House and Senate suggesting a path forward. First and foremost, he suggested that the House and Senate use the budget reconciliation to specifically target the individual and employer mandates (which the Skinny Repeal would have done).
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Congressman Scott Tipton (R)
Rep. Tipton did not release a public statement on the Senates failure to pass the Skinny Repeal. However, the Congressman did retweet Senator Gardner's explanation for his vote to move forward.
Congressman Doug Lamborn (R)
Rep. Lamborn issued a press release entitled "The Senate Fails to Repeal Obamacare." While he admitted that the Skinny Repeal was incomplete, it was a positive step forward to provide relief to Colorado families.
I am disappointed that the Senate failed in its efforts to repeal portions of Obamacare. While the legislation was incomplete, it did get rid of the heavy handed individual mandate, the employer mandate that has hurt jobs across the country, the medical device tax which has stifled medical innovation, and defunded Planned Parenthood. The status quo is unacceptable and we should not give up. Obamacare is continuing to fail and the American people are being hurt with skyrocketing premiums, rising deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, and reduced access and choice for patients. We made a promise to the American people that we would fix these problems. I’m still pleased to have supported the American Health Care Act, which would have done the things the Senate failed to do. Obamacare won’t fix itself and will only get worse. I remain committed to finding meaningful solutions that will improve our health care system and bring medical and insurance costs down for all Americans.”
Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D)
Rep. Perlmutter tweeted Friday morning that it is time for Republicans to work with Democrats to save the Affordable Care Act.
Congressman Jared Polis (D)
The Skinny Repeal would have eliminated the individual mandate, the part of the law that requires people to carry health insurance or pay a fine. Rep. Polis took to Twitter and equated removing the individual mandate with kicking 269,000 Coloradans off of their insurance.
So we heard what our congressmen and Senators think, how do you feel about the vote? We want to hear what you think!