Next Attempt to Repeal ACA Could Be in 2019 - Or Much Sooner
House Republicans won’t renew their effort to repeal the ACA and its taxes this year, likely delaying another attempt until 2019, lawmakers told BNA on March 27. With midterm elections coming in 2018, the Republican effort to repeal the ACA is likely delayed until 2019, according to Chris Collins (R-NY), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “The wounds are so deep and so raw,” Collins said of the failure to pass the repeal bill. “This year we'll work on things we can come together on, like tax reform.” A spokesman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss committee issues, told Bloomberg BNA the panel has a full agenda ahead and doesn't expect to return to repeal anytime soon.
Indicative of how fluid the situation remains, however, were reports on March 30 that there is some sentiment among some Republicans to try to pass a "repeal and replace" bill as soon as the week of April 3, prior to Congress' scheduled recess begins on April 7. The renewed discussion comes after President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Congress said they would move on to issues like a tax overhaul in the wake of the healthcare bill being pulled 30 minutes ahead of a scheduled floor vote.
A Republican leadership aide said there are currently no plans to vote on any health-care legislation. But some republicans say there are conversations about a compromise. Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, who helped derail the bill, have been talking with some Republican moderate holdouts in an effort to identify changes that could bring them on board. Other Republicans prefer to move on to other issues.
Some lawmakers say the only path forward for a health care bill is a bipartisan one. Some conservative groups say they’re going to continue pushing for repeal of the ACA in 2017. Some Republicans, such as Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, say he thinks the Senate could now act on some version of the legislation he introduced with moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Cassidy, however, said he doesn’t expect movement on a repeal bill in the near future.
Cassidy, along with three other senators, introduced a bill in January that would keep the ACA’s taxes and allow states to decide if they want to keep the health law’s expanded federal Medicaid funding. The legislation would lift the ACA’s individual mandate but would automatically enroll Americans in an insurance plan they can opt out of, if they choose.