H.R. 3762: Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015

This was a vote to pass H.R. 3762 in the Senate.

Republicans attempted to use the budget reconciliation process to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and pause federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Budget reconciliation is the one chance each year that the majority party gets to bypass the Senate filibuster to get a bill to the President’s desk without needing a single vote from the minority party.

The House originally passed this bill on October 23, 2015, sending it to the Senate. To meet the requirements of the budget reconciliation process, so that the bill could not be filibustered, Senate Republicans amended the bill, sending it back to the House. The House then passed the revised bill on January 6, 2016. The President vetoed the bill on January 8, 2016.

The bill would have:

Repealed Obamacare, or the key parts of it —  The Republicans’ bill, Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, doesn’t actually repeal Obamacare in its entirety. Instead it goes after some of the key features of Obamacare that are necessary to make the whole system work. It would have:

  • Restricted the federal government from operating health care exchanges
  • Phased out funding for subsidies to help lower and middle-income individuals afford insurance through the health care exchanges
  • Eliminated tax penalties for individuals who do not purchase health insurance and employers with 50 or more employees who do not provide insurance plans
  • Eliminated taxes on medical devices and the so-called “Cadillac tax” on the most expensive health care plans
  • Phased out an expansion of Medicaid over a two-year period

Ended federal funding to Planned Parenthood —  The bill would also end federal funding of Planned Parenthood for one year by prohibiting Medicaid reimbursements for Planned Parenthood services. Instead, the bill would increase funding for a community health program.

Federal funding for Planned Parenthood supports its reproductive health, maternal health, and child health services — but not its abortion services or the subsequent transfer of fetal tissue that may follow, which are what brought the organization into focus last year. Existing law prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions, and the bill also does not address the organization’s practices regarding fetal tissue, which were made legal in 1993.

What Republicans Say

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Rep. John Kline (R-MN2) had said that H.R. 3762 “represents an important opportunity to reduce federal spending and help rein in our nation’s deficits and debt” caused by “the president’s flawed health care scheme.” Committee member Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN1), an OB/GYN physician, said, “The . . . wasteful spending included in ObamaCare have put a strain on hardworking families and have succeeded only in making our already struggling economy worse.”

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ5), one of seven House Republicans who voted against the bill in the first House vote, said he agrees with the overall concept to “act boldly and fully repeal this terrible law”, referring to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), but voted against the bill “because this bill didn’t go far enough” to repeal the Affordable Care Act entirely.

What Democrats Say

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD8) said in a press release, "For the 61st time . . . our Republican colleagues are moving forward on legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. . . . Why in the world are we here on the floor of the House of Representatives passing legislation that’s going to take away affordable health care to 15 million Americans, including three million children?"

All but one Democrat voted against in the two House votes. That was Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN7), the most conservative Democrat in the House according to our ideology analysis.

The White House had said the President would veto the bill: “Repealing the health care law would have implications far beyond these Americans who have or will gain insurance . . . More than 150 million Americans with employer-based insurance would be at risk of higher premiums and lower wages, or losing their coverage altogether. It would raise taxes on certain middle-class families.”

About Reconciliation

The reconciliation process traditionally has been used by lawmakers to reduce the deficit through revenue increases (tax hikes) and cuts to entitlements (e.g. Medicare and Medicaid, but not Social Security which cannot be changed under a reconciliation bill). The process has been used in the past to enact both tax cuts and tax increases, reforms to student loan programs, and even some minor pieces of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Earlier this year there was talk of using it to pass a tax code overhaul that Obama and the Republicans could conceivably come to an agreement on.

114th Congress
Dec 3, 2015
On Passage of the Bill in the Senate
Bill Passed

Key: R Yea R Nay D Nay
Seat position based on our ideology score.
Totals     Republican     Democrat     Independent
  Yea 52
52 0 0
  Nay 47
2 44 1
Not Voting 1
0 0 1
Required: Simple Majority source: senate.gov

Vote Details

Notes: “Aye” or “Yea”?
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