Senate Republicans announced Tuesday that they won’t vote on the latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, effectively killing the bill, which had been spearheaded by Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina) and Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana).
The decision of Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) not to vote for the bill proved to be the final nail in the legislation’s coffin.
“We haven’t given up on changing the American health care system,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said after a lunchtime meeting of Republican senators, according to The New York Times. “We are not going to be able to do that this week, but it still lies ahead of us, and we haven’t given up on that.”
The measure, known as Graham-Cassidy, would have restructured the individual health insurance market by giving states block grants to fund health insurance coverage. Beginning in 2020, states would have been allowed to apply for a new health care grant. The approach would have replaced the federal funding method under the Affordable Care Act that covers tax credits to help people purchase insurance, and cost-sharing reduction payments.
Funding for Medicaid expansion in 31 states and the District of Columbia through 2020 also would have come from those block grants. After 2020, Graham-Cassidy called for a significant restructuring of Medicaid financing.
The legislation would also have repealed the ACA’s individual and employer mandates and the existing tax on medical devices. The repeal would have allowed states to waive certain regulations, including one that bars insurers from charging higher premiums to individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Like the last time the Senate voted on an ACA replacement bill, no Democrat supported the measure.