WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican Sen. Mike Lee issued statements Friday regarding the scheduling of President Obama’s health care law repeal amendment for Sunday, and recent announcements of mergers in the health care insurance industry.
“Obamacare” repeal amendment
Republicans now have an opportunity to make good on our promise to repeal Obamacare. The first Obamacare vote on Sunday will have a 60 vote threshold, and Democrats will likely block it … But thanks to the sequencing of the votes we just locked in, Republicans will have the opportunity resurrect that Obamacare amendment later on in the process, and put it back before the Senate in a manner that only requires a simple-majority vote.
After cloture is reached on the export-import bank amendment, senators will still be allowed to offer germane amendments to the highway bill, each of which would only require a simple-majority to pass. If the chair rules that the health care law amendment is nongermane, Senate Rule 22 also allows any senator to appeal that ruling to the full Senate. At that point, a simple majority of senators would have the power to add the health care law repeal amendment to the highway bill.
“I look forward to voting to repeal Obamacare with all 54 of my Republican colleagues Sunday, and working with all of the Senate to finally bring real reform to our health care system, ” Lee said.
Hearings on health care insurance consolidations
Lee also issued a statement Friday with fellow Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, regarding recent announcements of mergers in the health care industry. Lee is chair and Klobuchar is ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights.
“In a changing regulatory environment, the healthcare insurance industry is rapidly consolidating,” Lee said in the statement. “If each of the recently announced transactions is completed, the number of major health insurers in the United States would shrink to three. It is imperative that we closely examine changes in the healthcare market, and what has caused these changes, to ensure that consumers are not harmed and continue to receive quality health care at a competitive price.”
“Competition is critical to ensuring that consumers have access to the health insurance plans that best suit their families’ needs at the lowest prices,” Klobuchar said in the statement. “Anthem’s proposed acquisition of Cigna and Aetna’s acquisition of Humana, both individually or combined?, raise important antitrust concerns. The Antitrust Subcommittee has a duty to understand whether this consolidation would increase health insurance costs and jeopardize the ability of Americans to access affordable, high-quality health coverage, as well as whether claims of consumer benefits, corporate efficiency, and lower costs are realistic. I thank Chairman Lee for his attention to these vital issues.”
The antitrust subcommittee will hold a hearing on the consolidation of the health care insurance market in September.
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