Vote-a-ramas and talkathons: 5 things to know about what's happening to the ACA in Congress this week

This week could be the beginning of the end for the ACA. Here are five things to know about what's on tap for healthcare reform in the Senate this week.

1. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Sunday on CBS that Senate Republicans plan to take the first steps toward repealing the ACA by the end of the week, Reuters reports. He also said a replacement is expected to "rapidly" follow the potential repeal.

2. Wednesday is the big day, when the Senate plans for a "vote-a-rama," according to The Hill. A vote-a-rama is exactly what it sounds like — a series of votes — and this one will focus on a budget resolution introduced last week. The Senate will debate the legislation, vote on potential amendments and finally, give it a full vote on the Senate floor. It requires only a simple majority vote to pass. However, if the GOP loses more than two votes, it could be defeated, and a few Republican senators have voiced concerns about repealing the law without a replacement at the ready, according to the report in The Hill. Republicans in the House plan to pass a similar measure as well, according to a report in The New York Times. If the resolution passes, two committees in the Senate and two in the House have until Jan. 27 to draft budget reconciliation legislation that could contain provisions to repeal parts of the ACA.

3. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., one of the lawmakers who expressed concern about repealing the ACA without a replacement, said on Twitter he will produce a replacement plan this week, according to another report from The Hill. No details have been made public on what the plan will entail, but Sen. Paul hinted at "real market reforms." He also tweeted that President-elect Donald Trump supports his plan to replace the law immediately after repealing it, according to the report.

4. Other officials have estimated a more delayed timeline for a replacement plan. For example, transition team member Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said in an interview on MSNBC last week he expects a replacement plan by June or July, but that it wouldn't go into effect until 2019.

5. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are planning a "talkathon" Monday evening, designed to represent Republican efforts to repeal the law as damaging. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who organized the effort, provided The Huffington Post with the following statement: "We are taking to the floor and social media to denounce this plan and warn the American people that the Democrats will be fighting tooth and nail against this potentially catastrophic move."


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