Senate ObamaCare repeal, replace plan expected to need 60 votes

A proposal repealing and replacing ObamaCare—being offered as an amendment to a bill currently being debate by the Senate—will likely need 60 votes, almost guaranteeing that it won’t be able to pass. 

Senate Republicans brought up their their repeal and replace proposal, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), after voting early Tuesday to proceed to the House-passed healthcare bill. 

The amendment will also include Sen. Ted Cruz’s (Texas) proposal to give insurance companies more flexibility on what kinds of health insurance plans it offers, and a Medicaid proposal from Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio). 

{mosads}Because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has analyzed neither the Cruz nor Portman proposals, the entire repeal-and-replace amendment may be required to meet a 60-vote threshold, according to guidance from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office. 

The move means at least eight Democrats and every Republican senator will need to support the amendment—an unlikely hurdle with Democrats unified in opposition and several GOP senators concerned about the repeal-and-replace plan.

Repeal and replace is being offered as a “secondary amendment” to an amendment on the 2015 repeal bill. Under Senate procedure, lawmakers need to vote on the repeal-and-replace proposal first, before then voting on the repeal-only amendment. 

Though that ObamaCare repeal-only amendment needs just 50 votes, neither measure appears to have the necessary support to pass and be attached to the House healthcare bill, which is being used as a vehicle for any Senate action. 

The two amendments filed Tuesday afternoon are the first of hundreds that are expected to be offered for the bill. 

Updated 7:10 p.m.  

Tags Mitch McConnell Rob Portman Ted Cruz

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