WASHINGTON – With the House passage of a bill to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, the work now shifts to the Senate.
The Senate will take advantage of the work done by the House but will write its own bill, said Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairman of the committee that oversees health care issues.
“We will write it, find out what it costs, vote on it, and then we’ll compare our bill to the House,” said Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “And then they’ll pass our bill or we’re going to go to a conference committee.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Chattanooga, told MSNBC on Thursday that the House version of the bill has "zero" chance of passing the Senate in its current form.
"No. Zero," Corker said. "That's not the way it is going to work."
Corker said there is a group of Republicans in the Senate working on health care and will take "responsible, deliberate action" on the issue.
Alexander said his priorities for the Senate version include rescuing the Tennesseans and millions of other Americans who, under the Affordable Care Act, will have zero options to buy insurance under the Obamacare exchanges, or marketplaces, in 2018.
Many insurers have stopped selling policies on the federal exchanges. The insurance giant Humana, for example, the sole provider on the exchange in the Knoxville area, has announced it will exit the market in 2018, leaving 40,000 people who buy insurance on the exchange with zero health insurance options next year.