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.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said Wednesday that the Senate will pass a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare before Congress leaves on its annual August recess.
In an interview on KFYO’s “The Chad Hasty Show,” the Texas Republican was asked if the Senate could get a repeal and replace plan by the end of the year done.
“Oh, absolutely,” Cornyn said. “We’ll get it done by the end of July at the latest.”
Cornyn said he suspects the upper chamber will resolve the health care issue “in the next few weeks” and that lawmakers have “no choice” but to tackle it since, he said, “Obamacare is in meltdown.”
It’s no secret that my organization, FreedomWorks, had serious concerns with the American Health Care Act. The amendment negotiated by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) to allow states to define their own community rating and essential health benefits was a step in the right direction, but further improvements must be made as the bill works its way through the Senate. As Meadows said during the House debate over the AHCA, “The American people are going to care about one thing, and that’s premiums going down.”
It’s a tall order — especially given today’s political climate and the endless onslaught of liberal outrage.
According to an online post in The Hill (Feb. 4) by Sarah Ferris, at least three key Republicans are supporting alternatives to the Affordable Care Act.
One option, according to Ferris, would do away with law’s much publicized mandates while retaining the tax credits. Those are key in assisting those low income persons in the purchasing of health insurance plans – private ones that is. Details of the new plans being offered up remain vague (as of Feb 4). One would additionally keep two of Obamacare’s “most popular provisions” according to Ferris: the ACA’s inherent protections for those with pre-existing conditions. The other? The provision the young like very much – permitting them to remain on their parents’ health insurance coverage plans until they reach the age of 26.
Perhaps some of the most compelling of the Republican senators’ proposals are those advocating that: “individuals would no longer be required to buy healthcare coverage and employers would no longer be required to offer it.”
The three Republican senators offering different versions of Obamacare are Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Richard Burr, R-N.C.
For an opposition Party bent on doing away with the most revolutionary change to American healthcare since Medicare and Medicaid, a decision to hold a vote doing so has not been made – yet. The house GOP would also have to completely repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, then work could begin in earnest to construct, then implement, their alternative. In the next several weeks, much talk is anticipated, a lot of it coming from Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) about a replacement plan. Here, there is even concern about the term “replacement”, given many in the Republican Camp would rather offer their own market-based solutions versus government sponsored ones. Political concerns, logistically and strategically speaking, also revolve around Republicans’ unwillingness to let vulnerable Democrats vote. This following their rout in Florida’s recent special congressional election.
Three Republican Senators, Burr, Hatch, and Coburn have offered a proposal to repeal then replace Obamacare, with “market-based reforms.”