Less than two hours before the Senate votes at midnight, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has finally released the text of the pared-down bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.
Although the revised bill would kick millions of people off their healthcare, it's particularly devastating to women. If it passes, it will deny funding to Planned Parenthood and gut guaranteed access to reproductive health and maternity care services.
“Any vote to repeal the Affordable Care Ac or defund Planned Parenthood is tantamount to robbing millions of women access to the care and providers they rely on. The so-called ‘skinny repeal’ is a deeply harmful bill that will hurt Americans – and women, women of color, and low income Americans in particular – now and for decades to come. A vote on this bill opens the door to further imperil care for women and gut essential health services like reproductive health and maternity care," Maya Rupert, Senior Policy Director at the Center for Reproductive Rights said in a press release. "Senators should abandon this cruel effort and instead focus on improving care and increasing women’s access to essential services for their constituents.”
At 10:15 p.m., McConnell released the text of his pared-down bill to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act. It's a legislative maneuver so the Senate can pass a bill that a House-Senate conference committee can use as the base to try to work out a comprehensive "repeal and replace" measure.
House Speaker Paul Ryan had said the House is willing to negotiate with the Senate. McConnell's "skinny repeal" bill would end an unpopular requirement that individuals get coverage or risk fines, as well as a similar obligation imposed on larger employers.
It also suspends a tax on medical devices and allows states to seek waivers from consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act.
Earlier in the evening, two Republican senators said Ryan's statement that the House is willing to negotiate a final health care bill with the Senate is insufficient. Their statements dealt a blow to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's effort to pass legislation.
Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina say they are still opposed to a minimal bill that would only repeal several provisions of former President Barack Obama's health law.
The so-called "skinny repeal" is a last resort for Senate Republicans to pass something — anything — to trigger negotiations with the House. McCain and Graham are concerned that the House would simply pass the minimal bill and send it to President Donald Trump.