Republican Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) wants a guarantee: that the Senate health bill he will likely vote to pass won’t actually become law.
Having already voted down the Senate’s revised health bill and a straight Obamacare repeal, Republicans are now facing a vote on a “skinny repeal,” a proposal that would do away with Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates and possibly defund Planned Parenthood for one year.
But most Republicans, including Rounds, don’t like this proposal on its own. Instead, they see it as a way to keep the health care process moving — send something back to the House and initiate a conference between the two chambers to figure something out.
Sen Rounds says he's asked for a guarantee house won't pass skinny befor conference or a delay in implementation if it passes— Liz Goodwin (@lizcgoodwin) July 27, 2017
It’s put Republican senators in a bizarre position: They are being asking for a guarantee that what they are voting for won’t actually become law. Their concerns about skinny repeal aren’t unwarranted — by doing away with the employer and individual mandates, the insurance markets will almost certainly spiral downward, an issue Rounds has identified:
“I’m more concerned about a total collapse of the market if insurance companies decide they don’t want to take the risk,” Rounds told reporters Thursday. “Because if you still have the ability under Obamacare to buy the insurance just before you need it … a lot of insurance companies have a real concern about that.”
So instead, Republican senators are voicing their support not because of the actual legislation, but in hopes that it will change down the line — yet another toss in what has become a process of health care hot potato (or maybe a Schrödinger’s bill).
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has also expressed this to Vox, saying he would only be willing to vote for this skinny repeal to keep the process moving — but doesn’t want to see the skinny repeal in law.
“It’s not a very good solution,” Johnson said of skinny repeal. “It’s a solution if it keeps the process going to set up a more complete repeal and replace in a House-Senate conference. If that is the final product from the House and Senate, that would be bad.”