As we've had so many times so early in this administration, it's been another couple of hectic days.
Tuesday afternoon, the Senate voted 51-50 on the motion to proceed the debate on a health care bill. Senators Cassidy and Kennedy both voted yes.
Shortly thereafter, however, the Senate voted on the BCRA (a.k.a., the Senate's version of TrumpCare, which would repeal-and-replace the Affordable Care Act). It failed, 47-57. Senators Kennedy—and more surprisingly, Cassidy—voted yes on the BCRA. This, even though the BCRA clearly fails Cassidy's "Jimmy Kimmel Test". It's a disappointing vote, to be sure.
So what comes next?
The next step is likely "vote-a-rama", in which Senators offer amendments to the health care bill currently under question (note: since the Senate version failed, we've defaulted back to the House bill, the AHCA). These amendments could be anything, but they will likely culminate in a replacement bill for the BCRA that would repeal the Affordable Care Act with a two-year (or longer) delay for implementation. This is known as "skinny repeal".
Skinny repeal would focus on three objectives: repealing the individual mandate, repealing the employer mandate to provide coverage for employees, and repealing the tax on medical devices. This plan seems to be most likely to pass.
Any bill that passes the Senate then goes to committee to produce a single bill that both houses of Congress can pass.
We can still stop this thing. Senator Cassidy can still stop this – he promised he wouldn't vote for repeal without replacement. We must demand he keep his word.
WHO TO CALL:
Senator Cassidy and Senator Kennedy
Senator Bill Cassidy - DC OFFICE: (202) 224-5824 and METAIRIE OFFICE: (504) 838-0130 (NOTE: If you can't get through to Metairie, try one of the other offices, such as Monroe: (318) 324-2111, Lake Charles: (337) 493-5398, or Alexandria: Phone: (318) 448-7176)
Senator John Kennedy - DC OFFICE: (202) 224-4623 and MONROE OFFICE (318) 361-1489
Reminders: Identify where you're calling from (town and zip code is fine) so they know you're an actual constituent. Be concise - the office will get through more calls that way. Be polite and don't argue with the staffer - they don't set policy. If you get a voicemail, then leave a message. And if you get a busy signal -- call back later!
Hi, my name is [Your Name] from New Orleans, zip code 70118 [or wherever you're from].
I'm calling today because I am very disappointed in the Senator for his yes votes yesterday on both the motion to proceed and also on the BCRA. Even though the BCRA ultimately failed, I feel betrayed that the Senator ultimately voted in favor of it, as it would have grievously harmed Louisianans.
I want the Senator to vote no on any version of repeal that fails to protect people with pre-existing conditions, that eliminates the Medicaid expansion, and that brings back lifetime and annual caps. I also want the Senator to vote no on "clean" repeal-only.
What I want is this Senator to instead work in a bipartisan manner to fix the ACA, using regular order processes such as open hearings and expert testimony. There's still time for the Senator to keep his word and put the people of Louisiana first, and start this all over and do it right.
Thank you for your time and your hard work answering the phones. Stay safe out there.
This call is courtesy of Metairie Indivisible.