Efforts by Republicans in the Senate to advance a narrower rewrite of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “skinny repeal,” failed on a 49-51 vote. Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) joined with all 48 members of the Democratic caucus to block the legislation during an early morning vote on Friday, July 28.
The bill, officially known as the Health Care Freedom Act, would have eliminated parts of the ACA including the individual mandate requiring all Americans to have health insurance coverage, as well as a tax on medical devices. The stripped down bill came after earlier proposals to replace the ACA and then to partially repeal it were also defeated.
The vote represents a significant setback to Congressional Republicans and casts doubt on the future of ACA repeal. Democrats, and some Republicans, said the bill's failure could present an opportunity for the two parties to work together to fix problematic areas of the health law without repealing it. Other Republicans said it was time to move on to other legislative priorities such as tax reform.
Impact on General Dentistry: Regardless of whether Congress moves on from health reform, the AGD will continue to urge lawmakers not to lose sight of the key role oral health plays in the overall health of both children and adults and to thus protect the expansion of dental coverage gained under the ACA.