On Tuesday, Senate Republicans are planning to vote to start debate on a health care bill. That vote will kick off a hectic few days — and by the end, the American health care system could be entirely revamped.
The twist is that the GOP has two bills in play, one to repeal Obamacare and one to replace it. It’s not yet clear which of them will ultimately pass — or if either of them even can.
If Senate Republicans get 51 votes to proceed, that will kick off 20 hours of debate and then what is called a “vote-a-rama,” which involves senators proposing amendments to the House bill. The first amendments will likely be the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, which repeals most of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. If that fails (as is expected), they will vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which cuts massive portions of the ACA.
To give you a better idea of what’s to come, here’s a flowchart showing the narrow but feasible path Republicans have to pass a health care bill:
The margin of error for Republicans isn’t huge, but if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can satisfy some of the dissenting Republicans, it’s possible he could get enough support to pass a health care bill of some sort. Amazingly, we don’t know what bill the Senate will vote on if it gets to a final passage vote.
That said, if the Better Care Reconciliation Act is passed, the Congressional Budget Office projects 22 million people would lose coverage.
If the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act is passed, the CBO projects 32 million people would lose coverage.
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