Senators clash over repeal or repair of the ACA

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Although the House of Representatives passed the American health Care Act to replace the Affordable Care Act, a pair of senators debated on how the legislative body will approach the new bill. At the early morning session at The Independent Insurance Agent’s & Brokers of America’s legislative conference breakfast last week prior to the organization’s annual Day on Capitol Hill, Senator Cory Gardner (R-Co.) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) each took the stage to give their keynote speeches.

Gardner opened the “Big I”’s conference, which took place before the May 4 vote to pass the AHCA, by saying that healthcare costs must be halted and a new form of healthcare must be put in place that has more affordable options.

“In my home of Colorado, 100,000 people saw their health insurance increase by 77% just within the last couple years and we know that cannot continue,” Gardner said. “We know the difference between access and coverage. We have the coverage but the access is not good enough.”

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Manchin agrees with Gardner that the current ACA is not perfect, but said Republicans would have a better chance of receiving bipartisan support from Democrats if they would forget about the word “repeal” and instead begin the process with “repair.”

“It is just a mindset when starting basic negotiations,” Manchin said. “If [Republicans] can get off the word “repeal” I can get 10 other senators to sit down and fix this thing.”

Both Gardner and Manchin expected the repeal to pass the House of Representatives — which happened on Thursday, May 4 —but had differing views on how the Senate would determine its outcome. On one hand, Gardner said with the repeal passing through the Senate, Americans could begin to see change in the way health insurance is offered.

“It looks like the House of Representatives is going to vote on a healthcare replacement that will then come over to the Senate where it is very important we continue to work on putting something in place of Obamacare,” Gardner said.

On the other hand, Manchin said Democrats will do everything they can to stop the repealing process from passing through the Senate so a bipartisan effort can be made to fix the ACA that is currently in place.

“Republicans “have the votes to get it out of the House, but it will not go anywhere in the Senate,” Manchin said. “There has to be a way we can work together.”

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