US Senate Republicans have released a revamped health bill in a bid to rally their divided party around its seven-year campaign to repeal Obamacare.
The plan retains key Obamacare taxes on the wealthy, while allowing insurers to offer less coverage and imposing sharp cuts to healthcare for the poor.
The new bill aims to woo Republicans of conservative and moderate factions.
Congress is delaying its summer holiday in a bid to overturn former President Barack Obama’s 2010 legislation.
Senate Republicans unveiled their newest health care bill Thursday as they continue to search for the majority needed to repeal and replace Obamacare.
The new bill includes major changes to the original. One of the most significant was the inclusion of an amendment by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, which would allow insurers offering Obamacare plans to also offer cheaper, bare-bones policies. The amendment was included in an effort to earn more conservative support, but could also drive away some moderates who fear the amendment could drive up premiums for those with pre-existing conditions.
Eight years after they organized en masse to kill Obamacare before it became law and helped Republicans take over Congress in the process, conservative activists are having trouble galvanizing around the GOP’s best and perhaps last chance to do away with the health care act.
Activists on the right have been outmatched in energy and enthusiasm by liberal groups at a critical legislative juncture. And the mounting worry among both the conservative groups and Republican lawmakers is that the debate over the future of health care in America may soon be irreparably painted in unfavorable terms, if it hasn’t been already.
Senate Republicans are highly unlikely to vote next week to repeal Obamacare and are tentatively preparing for a vote in approximately two weeks, according to senators and officials on Capitol Hill and in the White House.
The Congressional Budget Office is reviewing legislative language sent by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; the Senate parliamentarian must weigh in on controversial proposals; and GOP leaders still have not forged a bill that can get 50 votes. Those factors are likely to push the pivotal roll call closer to the end of July than immediately after the July 4 recess.
New data have been released contradicting Republican propaganda about the “failing” Affordable Care Act. What may be more embarrassing to the hardliners pushing repeal is that it comes from the government, specifically the Department of Health and Human Services.
Under Secretary Tom Price, the department has been a fount of anti-ACA rhetoric. But in an annual report about the ACA’s risk-management provisions issued Friday, Health and Human Services established that the key programs are “working as intended,” protecting insurers from unexpectedly large risks and moderating premiums for consumers.
As we prepare for the coming week of Democratic senators leveling charges of mass homicide against their colleagues, it seems worth asking a few questions, like “Is it true that this bill will kill people?” And “If it’s so deadly, how can Republicans possibly get it passed?” Voters don’t like taxes much, to be sure. But most of them are, I think, even less fond of death.
First, then, the score itself. How reliable is it? Unfortunately, this score has the same problems that plagued the Congressional Budget Office’s score of the House bill: Its estimates of the number of uninsured, while undoubtedly made in good faith, seem rather implausibly large. However little liberals may like this bill when they compare it to Obamacare, when compared to the pre-Obamacare status quo ante, it offers many billions of dollars’ worth of subsidies for health insurance — premium tax credits for people buying insurance in the individual market, and substantial funds to insurers and states in order to stabilize the market.
It seems hard to believe, as the CBO predicts, that the net result will be almost no reduction in the number of uninsured people, relative to what you’d get if Obamacare was simply repealed and replaced with nothing.
Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a sweeping draft bill to roll back the Affordable Care Act, including a drastic reduction in federal healthcare spending that threatens to leave millions more Americans uninsured, drive up costs for poor consumers and further destabilize the nation’s health insurance markets.
The legislative outline, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s team wrote largely behind closed doors, hews closely to the Obamacare repeal bill passed last month by House Republicans, though it includes important differences. The House version was first celebrated by President Trump in a White House Rose Garden ceremony, though he later criticized the bill as “mean.”
House Republicans crafted a health-care bill behind closed doors and passed it quickly, and now Senate Republicans are attempting to do the same. Few GOP senators even know what’s in the bill that could come to a vote next week, some GOP senators are speaking out, and analysts say the secretive nature of this process appears to be unprecedented.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, as far as the secrecy,” Paul Ginsburg, a health policy expert at the University of Southern California, told The Fix’s Amber Phillips on Monday. Over at the Monkey Cage, meanwhile, George Washington University’s congressional expert Sarah Binder lays out four ways in which the secrecy goes above and beyond.
Senators are seriously considering keeping in place some ObamaCare taxes for longer than the House-passed bill would as they seek to draft healthcare legislation that can pass their chamber with a simple majority.
Republicans are looking to slowly phase out extra federal funds for Medicaid expansion, beef up the new tax credits for buying insurance and add money for opioid abuse treatment — but they’ll have to pay for it to ensure the bill passes muster.
That’s because the Senate healthcare bill must save at least as much money as the House’s legislation.