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Up Next for Health Care: A "Skinny" Repeal?

Up Next for Health Care: A "Skinny" Repeal? Click to Enlarge

ST. PAUL, Minn. - It's a new day for the health-care debate in the U.S. Senate.

On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence had to break a tie to get senators to take up the repeal and/or replacement of the Affordable Care Act. Some insiders are calling what could come next "skinny repeal," meaning a very stripped-down agreement to change only some parts of the law.
Supporters of the Affordable Care Act have said it is flawed but has improved options for Americans, especially in states such as Minnesota that expanded their Medicaid programs.
AARP Minnesota state director Will Phillips said his group paid close attention to the vote.
"We want to thank Sen. (Amy) Klobuchar and Sen. (Al) Franken for the vote that they cast today," Phillips said, "and are going to be telling our members, singing it from the rooftops."
Franken and Klobuchar voted against reopening the debate, saying they believe bipartisan improvements can be made to the current system. Phillips said AARP Minnesota plans to mobilize its 650,000 members if and when a Senate bill goes back to the House.
In March, the Minnesota delegation split along party lines. Phillips said if Republican proposals get traction, AARP is convinced that insurance premiums for older Minnesotans could rise fivefold and jeopardize long-term care.
"Any cost-shifting that would be done through this type of legislation could have a really negative impact on people in this state," he said, "in particular, older adults who rely on Medicaid for long-term care, whether that be nursing home or home- and community-based care services."

AARP recently voted Minnesota second only to the state of Washington for the quality and availability of long-term care services and supports. Phillips said the group is hoping Congress will work to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, not repeal it.

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