Health Care “Repeal and Replace” Becomes “Repeal, and Replace Later”

Capitol Building with Reflection

After the collapse this week of the Senate’s version of the “repeal and replace” legislation, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), a “repeal and replace in 2 years” bill was introduced in the Senate on July 19, 2017. The “Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act of 2017” (ORRA) is based on a repeal bill passed in 2015 by the House of Representatives and the Senate but vetoed by then-President Obama. The ORRA would repeal various provisions of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) but delay the effective date of repeal for two years, during which Congress would craft replacement legislation. Assuming the Senate votes to proceed to debate, a vote on the ORRA could occur next week.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the number of uninsured Americans would spike by 17 million within one year of passage and by 32 million over the ensuing decade if the ORRA is passed, compared to what would be expected under Obamacare. According to the CBO, average premiums for individual-market coverage would jump 25 percent within one year and would eventually double over the next decade, compared to premiums under Obamacare. The CBO also estimates that three-quarters of the U.S. population would reside in areas with no insurer offering individual-market coverage within 10 years of passage of the ORRA. More updates to follow as the health care saga continues in the Senate.

For more information on this topic, contact your Health Care counsel at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.

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