The past few months have been a whirlwind in Washington, especially when it comes to the Republican efforts to repeal President Obama's signature healthcare reform. It's nearly impossible to keep up when there's a new healthcare plan every week (and sometimes every day). To make all our lives easier, we've broken down what the hell is going on and where Congress can go from here.
First, let's quickly walk through how America's lawmakers got to this point. In May, the House of Representatives approved a bill to repeal and replace much of Obamacare, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). But, when it went to the Senate, Republican senators said they would start from scratch.
The Republican leadership's first try came in the form of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which closely resembled the House's AHCA, but called for deeper long-term cuts to Medicaid. When it became clear the original Senate bill didn't have enough votes to pass, Republicans made some revisions, including an amendment that would allow insurers to offer fewer benefits for cheaper if they sold at least one plan that complied with Obamacare regulations.
The Senate voted to open debate on repealing Obamacare on Tuesday, with Vice President Mike Pence acting as a tie-breaker. After opening debate on the topic, the Senate voted on the revised version of the BCRA, but it didn't pass. So on Wednesday, senators voted on a bill to repeal Obamacare without a replacement, similar to one that passed in a Republican-controlled Congress in 2015 but was vetoed by President Obama. This also failed.
Where are we now?
Republicans' last-ditch effort was a "skinny repeal" bill that would have eliminated a few major Obamacare guidelines, but their third repeal attempt couldn't pass an early Friday morning vote, either. This essentially stalled all efforts for repeal, since the GOP couldn't come to a consensus.
What happens next?
That's not entirely clear. Republican leadership remains committed to repealing Obamacare but they're running out of options.
Republicans can either go back to committee and try to rework one of the failed bills or work with Democrats to come up with bipartisan legislation to reform healthcare.
What can you do?
Although the debate seems to be at a standstill, activists against the repeal don't think the fight is over.
"The resistance showed up—we called, we came to meetings, we rallied in the rain, and last night we won a critical victory in the fight to protect our care," said Save My Care, a grassroots group fighting repeal, in a statement to Refinery29. "But we know that President Trump and Leader McConnell’s reckless determination to imperil the well-being of millions of Americans has not gone away."
If you want to get involved in the fight to protect Obamacare from repeal, women's groups including Emily's List, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the National Women's Law Center are organizing a nationwide "Our Lives on the Line" day of action surrounding healthcare on Saturday, July 29.
The main event will be a march to the White House, with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in attendance, but there are events happening all over the country. Here are the details of the main rallies taking place this weekend:
Phoenix: Parsons’s Center for Health and Wellness – Southwest Center for HIV/AIDs (1101 N. Central Avenue), 11 a.m. MST
This story was originally published on July 26, 2017.