U.S. Senate votes to move to debate on health care bill

July 25, 2017

U.S. Senate votes to move to debate on health care bill

Every proposal strips millions of health care and jeopardizes lives of Missourians

On Tuesday afternoon, July 25, the U.S. Senate voted 51-50 to move to debate on the budget reconciliation bill to repeal part of the Affordable Care Act and slash funding for Medicaid. Vice President Pence provided a tie-breaking vote to allow debate to proceed.

The Senate voted along party lines. All but two Republican Senators voted aye. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) joined all 48 Democrats and Independents to vote no. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (D) voted no, while Missouri Senator Roy Blunt (R) voted yes.

Senators voted to proceed to debate despite not knowing what version – or versions – of the bill they will be asked to debate and vote on.

Jen Bersdale, Executive Director of Missouri Health Care for All, says, “It is shameful that 50 Senators and our Vice President voted to bring up a bill when they do not even know what type of legislation they will ultimately be asked to support. Every proposal we have seen – whether it is called the American Health Care Act, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, full repeal, or so-called skinny repeal – does grievous harm to Americans by stripping millions of their health insurance. In doing so, they endanger the very lives of constituents whose cancer will go undetected, whose diabetes will go untreated, and whose heart disease will go unmonitored.”

Bersdale notes, “Even those who are most committed to advancing these proposals do not seem to have arguments to make in favor of their proposals, instead focusing on calls for political party loyalty and continued ad hominem attacks on the Affordable Care Act. These are the wrong considerations for our nation’s leaders as they debate the future of our health care system.”

Regardless of which proposals are ultimately debated and considered, Missouri Health Care for All urges Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt to vote “NO” on the bill. Until the Senate can craft a proposal that does not lead to millions of people losing their health insurance, the only way to protect Missourians is to oppose this bill.

Sarah Gentry, Policy Director of Missouri Health Care for All, says, “Our Senators should not get distracted by the details around the edges of the various proposals. Every proposal has the same core problems: Loss of health insurance for tens of millions of Americans, higher costs for millions more, and fewer protections for consumers.”

Crystal Brigman Mahaney, Deputy Director of Missouri Health Care for All, urges Senators Blunt and McCaskill to heed the calls of their constituents: “Thousands of Missourians have spoken out against the dangerous health care proposals the Senate will now debate. Missourians sent Senators Blunt and McCaskill to Washington to represent our best interests, and this bill is bad for Missourians. Our Senators should listen to their constituents and vote down any bill that leads to Missourians losing their access to care.”