U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan tonight voted for a measure allowing the Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) through the budget reconciliation process.
The vote came amidst a flurry of voting that stretched into the early hours of Thursday morning.
The resolution gives instructions to the Senate HELP and Finance Committees so that the repeal can move more quickly.
“This is a first and necessary step towards delivering better healthcare for Alaskans,” Murkowski said in a statement. “The ACA has harmed Alaskans for far too long, from skyrocketing premiums to diminishing choices in coverage, and done nothing to reduce the cost of healthcare or improve its quality.
“We can now begin the process of creating a more affordable system by repealing key elements of the failed law and allowing for the return of flexibility to the states. Through the passage of this resolution, we are now on the way to genuine healthcare reform that is affordable, accessible, and that provides for families’ needs.”
Murkowski said what is needed is a healthcare system that allows states flexibility to control costs and increase insurance options. Murkowski advocated for a simultaneous repeal and replace legislation to prevent lapses in coverage.
Sen. Dan Sullivan added: “Today the Senate took the first major step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act, keeping our promise to the American people: ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,’ the President and those who supported ObamaCare told us in 2009. The law, they promised, ‘means more choice, more competition, lower costs for millions of Americans.’
“That has not proven to be true for millions across our country – and Alaska is ground zero. With skyrocketing premiums and deductibles and one provider left in the exchange, our healthcare system is in a downward spiral. The Affordable Care Act is not affordable for thousands of Alaskans. Doing nothing is not an option.
“In this new Congress, I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on an orderly transition that focuses on market oriented reforms that reduce the cost of healthcare without growing the size of government, and ultimately provides greater healthcare affordability and choice for Alaskans.”