Skinny Repeal Explained
UPDATE: The Skinny Repeal did not pass, but that doesn’t mean a repeal is off the table. Get updates on the repeal and replace vote.
The Background on the Skinny Repeal
After not having enough votes to pass the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 as written (the bill the CBO scored which saves money and results in 22 million losing their plan by 2026 for 49 million total), Republican Senators began to focus on what has been dubbed “a skinny repeal.”
What is a Skinny Repeal?
A “skinny repeal” essentially means that Republicans in congress would try to pass amendments to take away some aspects of the ACA, like the mandates, while leaving much of the rest in place.
The result of this will likely be that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) essentially remains in place, but with a few tweaks.
Right now we don’t know exactly what those “tweaks” would be, and to add more confusion amendments can be offered up by Democrats, Republicans, and Independents (which means the final result could include planks from the left, right, and center.)
Furthermore, there are a few more complexities here. 1. whatever amendments are added need to go back to the house (and then again back to the Senate) and 2. “the Byrd rule,” named after notable Southern Democrat Robert Byrd, could place items not related to the budget in jeopardy (even if they do get the votes).
Given all the uncertainty pertaining to the above we can’t speculate much on the impact of the voting, which is expected to extend from the morning of July 27th into the night.
With that in mind, according to aides and lobbyists (as reported by VOX and other sources), a skinny repeal would:
Repeal the individual mandate to get coverage or pay a fee, delay the employer mandate to cover workers (two provisions that are unpopular, but are somewhat necessary for balancing the books), and likely partly defund Planned Parenthood for a year (by making it so it couldn’t take Medicaid).
That means cost assistance, Medicaid expansion, essential benefits, patient protections, taxes, and much else would otherwise remain in place.
Simply, it is called a “skinny repeal” because it seems likely only to repeal a few provisions.
TIP: Want to hear some reasons why the Skinny Bill might not be the best idea? Check out Senator Lindsey Graham’s opinions. He says that while the hope is that voting on the bill would just be “a vehicle for a conference” (a way to get a debate going in the House again). He fears that the House will pass the skinny bill without changes. The problem is if they just passed the repeal of the mandates and Planned Parenthood funding, the Skinny Bill as written, then it wouldn’t do much to “fix the ACA.” It is hard to weigh in without having seen the text and without even a CBO score, but generally Graham helps us to understand the complexity of what is happening in Congress with the ACA at the moment.