National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Skip to content National Council for Mental Wellbeing
Find a Provider
National Council for Mental Wellbeing logo
Your source for the latest updates from Capitol Hill. We translate policy into practice so you can learn how policy trends will affect your work and how best to prepare.

Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

Senate Fails to Pass “Skinny” ACA Repeal

July 28, 2017 | ACA | Medicaid | Comments
Share on LinkedIn

In the early hours of Friday morning, the Senate failed to advance its “skinny” Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bill. The bill would have served as a substitute to effectively replace the underlying House-passed health care legislation and move the debate to a conference committee with the House. The measure was defeated by a 49-51 vote with three Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and John McCain (R-AZ) — joining all 48 Democrats in opposing the bill. The National Council thanks all Senators who opposed this dangerous proposal and other repeal votes from earlier in the week. We also thank and commend all advocates who contacted their Senators to vote “NO” on the bill.

“Skinny” Repeal Fails

The stunning defeat of the “skinny” repeal deals a major blow to Congressional efforts to cut Medicaid funding and repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act. The simplified “skinny” repeal measure was intended to reflect a consensus position among Republicans after it became clear that the Senate majority caucus could not reach agreement on a comprehensive “repeal and replace” plan. Earlier this week, the Senate failed to advance respective bills to repeal and replace the ACA (the Better Care Reconciliation Act) and to repeal portions of the ACA after a two-year delay without any replacement (the Obamacare Repeal and Replace Act). The National Council opposed both of these measures because of their cuts to Medicaid, elimination of the Medicaid expansion, and repeal of essential health benefits.

3 GOP Senators Vote NO

While Senators Collins (R-ME) and Murkowski (R-AK) remained steadfast in their opposition these repeal measures, Senator McCain’s (R-AZ) “no” vote came as a surprise, as he had been celebrated by party leaders for voting in favor of opening debate on the Senate health reform bill earlier in the week.


Yes, Mr. President. We agree!



The National Council extends our deepest gratitude to Senators Murkowski, Collins and McCain for standing strong and opposing this bill in the face of intense pressure.

Next Steps – Be Ready to Advocate

The immediate next steps remain unclear, as it appears certain that Senate Republicans don’t have the 50 votes necessary to pass the underlying health care legislation they have been debating all week — the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA). Nonetheless, the White House and Congressional leaders may continue to seek a path forward on health care reform. Thus, it is important for advocates to keep actively voicing their opposition to any measure that would cut Medicaid and/or rollback coverage and care for individuals living with mental illness and addiction. Stay tuned the Capitol Connector and other National Council alerts for continued updates.