‘Skinny’ Repeal: Deeply Harmful Bill That Will Only Become More Harmful

Senate Republicans’ latest proposal for a “skinny” repeal is just as harmful to millions of Americans across the country as any other version of Republican repeal. The “skinny” repeal is a con bill – it is a shady ploy by Republicans to move legislation forward, all so it can be made even more harmful. 

Republican senators are explicitly admitting that their “skinny” repeal bill is a “joke” to move legislation forward, all so it can be made even more harmful.

Senator Corker: “’You guys get the joke,’ said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee. ‘The purpose of this isn't to generate policy. The purpose is for something to have passed out of this body that puts things into conference.’”

Senator Cornyn: “‘So I think all we're looking at is a way to get to that conference quick,’ he added… Aides have said that a ‘skinny’ bill is likely to be just a repeal of the individual and employer mandates in ObamaCare, as well as the medical device tax, though Cornyn said the contents have not been fully determined yet.” 

Senators Cornyn and Rounds: “Senate Rs (Cornyn, Rounds) are selling ideas that Senate skinny repeal would just be to open door for AHCA/BCRA in conference.”

Senator Corker: “Corker says ‘content’ of skinny bill not the point, rather it is ‘forcing mechanism’ for conference with House”

Senator Graham: “Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he would back voting for the skinny repeal plan, but only if it would be used to come up with a new plan with House lawmakers. ‘It alone cannot be success,’ Graham said. ‘The main thing to me is a vehicle to do something bigger.’”

Senator Tillis: “I don't care if it's skinny, mini or Moe. If it gives us progress on health care — we've got a lot of work to do. A lot of people need to just dispatch this idea that we have one vote and then we move on to other things.”


Skinny repeal would starve people of their health care. It will kick millions off of their insurance, cause premiums to skyrocket and send insurance markets into a “death spiral.”

Chris Cuomo: “The skinny function of this is going to be about starving people from their health care.”

CBO: “CBO just scored the ‘skinny repeal’ bill. 16M Americans would lose insurance + 20% spike in premiums, per senior Dem aide”

Vox: “The losers of a skinny repeal bill, should it pass, are the middle-income Americans who purchase coverage on the individual market.”

Nick Confessore: “The skinny rewrite it does not actually solve the problem. Senator Cassidy is saying it is better than Obamacare. That's really not clear. In fact, experts say passing the skinny repeal is going to kick a lot of people out of the private markets. But it's going to send the private markets into chaos and probably raise premiums. I'm not sure that helps Republicans, it does seem like this is a political horse pulling the cart. The goal not necessarily to get something good done.” 

Vox: “But there’s a reason why repealing only the individual mandate is a bad idea: It would likely destroy the individual market, in a process health care experts call the ‘death spiral.’”


In conference committee with the House, the skinny repeal bill will be made even worse, including adding the Cruz amendment and Medicaid cuts back into the fold.

Daily Beast: “So far, both moderate and conservative senators have signaled a willingness to consider skinny repeal, though others remain skeptical or undecided. But the House is an entirely different matter. In interviews with The Daily Beast, conservatives there say the idea is dead on arrival.”

Rep. Dave Brat: “’It’s nowhere near repeal. I mean, even the repeal bill isn’t repeal because all the regulations stay in place,’ Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), an outspoken member of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, told The Daily Beast. ‘People need to get out their Webster’s dictionary and look up the word repeal—and then see if your representative is staying true to their word.’”

Rep. Mark Meadows: “Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, echoed Brat, telling reporters that there is ‘zero’ chance the House would pass the scaled-back repeal.”

Senator Cornyn: “Cornyn noted that new Senate ideas — such as Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) amendment to let insurers sell plans outside of ObamaCare's regulations and Sen. Rob Portman's (R-Ohio) amendment to add $100 billion to help people losing Medicaid afford private coverage — could be included and could help pave the way for a deal in the conference committee. ‘We use the template of the House bill that addresses all of these issues and come up with the best of the ideas we've developed, like the Cruz freedom amendment and the Portman negotiation on Medicaid and the wraparound, and all those would be live and could be used as part of a deal in the conference committee,’ Cornyn said.”

Senator Rounds: “Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) likewise said Wednesday that passing the skinny bill would be a way to get to the conference committee, and would also buy time for the Congressional Budget Office to score the new proposals, including the Cruz and Portman amendments.”


This process is transparent and senators who vote for a “skinny” repeal would be breaking their promises to the people they are supposed to represent.

Senator Murkowski: “I remain committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act, and I am equally committed to ensuring that all Alaskans and Americans, especially the most vulnerable among us and those in rural communities, have access to affordable, quality healthcare. With a new administration and a new Congress we have an opportunity to fulfill both of those commitments, but repeal and replace need to coincide – that’s simply common sense.”

Senator Murkowski: “But almost as quickly as McConnell charted that new course, he lost the support to follow through with it. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have said they would oppose a procedural motion that would set up a vote on repeal-without-replacement legislation.  ‘If we’re going to do repeal, there has to be replacement,’ Murkowski told reporters. ‘There’s enough chaos and uncertainty already, and this would just contribute to it.’”

Senator Murkowski: “With a new administration & new Congress we have an opportunity to fix failures of #Obamacare, but a repeal and replace need to coincide.

Senator Heller: “’We cannot pull the rug out from under states like Nevada that expanded Medicaid, and we need assurances that people with pre-existing conditions will be protected,’ said Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, who is up for re-election next year.”

Senator Heller: “And while Mr. Heller has called for repealing the Affordable Care Act — a promise that thrills the Republican base — he has also, like many of his colleagues, consistently reassured voters that their health coverage would improve under a Republican alternative.”

Senator Heller: “Still, Heller took a far softer tack than the law’s staunchest opponents, frequently speaking of making ‘changes’ to Obamacare rather than eviscerating the law as some Republicans say they will do. He made no commitment to support the House-led effort to repeal the law, which could come before the Senate this month.  ‘Not everything in the Affordable Care Act is bad,’ Heller told the crowd in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas, as protesters demonstrated outside. ‘As we move forward and take a look at some of these changes and what’s occurring, I think we ought to embrace what’s good in the Affordable Care Act.’

Senator Portman: “‘If it is a bill that simply repeals, I believe that will add to more uncertainty’ and higher premiums, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told reporters this morning.”

Senator Collins: “Collins said that she is still a ‘no’ on proceeding to the House-passed bill, which would be used as a vehicle for any Senate action.  ‘We can’t just hope that we will pass a replacement within the next two years. Repealing without a replacement would create great uncertainty for individuals who rely on the [Affordable Care Act] and cause further turmoil in the insurance markets,’ she said.”

Senator Capito: “‘My position on this issue is driven by its impact on West Virginians. With that in mind, I cannot vote to repeal ObamaCare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”

Senator Johnson: “Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said he wants to see a ‘pretty darn specific’ proposal to replace Obamacare before it’s repealed. ‘Let’s start taking test votes on the different elements’ and ‘start making the political points’ for ‘what is going to be a more rational health-care system that actually works,’ Johnson said in an interview.’”

Senator McCain: “‘They have to be done together,’ said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, referring to efforts to repeal and replace the health law. ‘We don’t want to have people left out.’”

Senator Cassidy: “Cassidy, however, said it’s pretty clear what Trump wants and that he hopes the Senate will give it to him.  ‘I think we need to know where we’re going to end up in a practical way so that when we begin this process we’re heading in that direction,’ Cassidy said. He noted that Trump told CBS’ ‘60 Minutes’ after the election that ‘we should begin repeal when we replace.’”

Senator Paul: “Paul wrote an op-ed in Rare this week warning of such a scenario. He called for an immediate replacement or else Republicans ‘risk assuming the blame for the continued unraveling of Obamacare.’ Paul told The Hill that he will be ‘advocating very strongly in my caucus that we should vote simultaneously on repeal and replacement.’”

Senator Cotton: “Cotton said Thursday that ‘when we repeal ObamaCare, we need to have the solution in place moving forward,’ a warning against pushing a replacement far into the future.”

Senator Corker: “‘I think the president-elect’s position is the right position,’ Corker told reporters on Friday morning. ‘During the campaign he said that repeal and replace should take place simultaneously. That to me is the prudent course of action.’”

Senator Alexander: “You have to know what you’re going to replace it with, before you have an effective repeal,’ Alexander said at the end of his committee’s hearing on the individual insurance market.  ‘We’re more interested in the future and identifying what needs to be done to give people more affordable choices of insurance,’ he added. ‘No one’s talking about repealing anything until there is a concrete practical alternative to offer Americans in its place.’”