Senator Lee Helps Block GOP Healthcare Bill And Latest Repeal Effort in Jeopardy | KUER 90.1

Senator Lee Helps Block GOP Healthcare Bill And Latest Repeal Effort in Jeopardy

Jul 18, 2017

Utah Senator Mike Lee was one of two Republican defectors to sink a GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Today other Republican senators signaled they would not support a different effort to simply repeal the law.  

The legislative stumbles by Republican leadership in the Senate prompted President Trump to tweet on Tuesday “Let Obamacare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan.”

Matthew Slonaker is the executive director of the Utah Health Policy Project.

"I think allowing it to fail would imply that he be sort of sabotaging it or not taking the proper actions to make sure there’s stability in the marketplace," Slonaker says. 

He says that stability comes from money the federal government pays to insurers to subsidize certain people on Obamacare plans as well as the requirement that individuals buy insurance, which balances out costs in the overall marketplace.  

"You know a lot of what is in the Affordable Care Act is a “may.” And some of it is a “shall” as far as the regulations and how the law looks," Slonaker says.  

He says it’s up to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to enforce those "may's" and "shall's" in the law.  

Greg Bell is the President and CEO of the Utah Hospital Association. He says the White House is sending a message of uncertainty to insurance companies and healthcare providers.

"Obamacare is a whole house, right? You can’t just say let’s do the footings but not the foundation. It’s a construct. You may not like the design of the house but you can’t pull out critical elements and have anything," Bell says. 

Bell says moving forward, lawmakers should create a plan that combine the Democrats’ goal of access to healthcare with Republicans' priority of affordability.