Health Reform Vote Unlikely This Month

Earlier this month, Senate Republican leaders indicated plans to vote on health care reform legislation prior to taking their traditional July 4 recess later this month. However, it now appears that a vote may be delayed until July.

Based on various public reports, as well as conversations with senior Senate advisors, the legislation to make major revisions to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare,” is meeting with resistance from members of the Republican conference. In particular, senators representing states that have expanded Medicaid under the terms of ACA are concerned about provisions that could result in millions of their constituents losing coverage under the program.

In addition, any legislation would need an official budget estimate from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) before it could be voted on under “budget reconciliation” – the expedited procedures leadership wants to use to consider the health reform legislation. Several days would be needed for CBO to officially “score” the legislation, meaning that the bill would need to be drafted and submitted to CBO this week. Given the various concerns that senators have expressed about early drafts of the bill, this timing seems unlikely.