Senate GOP health bill would reshape Obama law

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has finally unwrapped his plan for dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law.

Facing unanimous Democratic opposition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., must get yes votes from 50 of the 52 GOP senators to avoid a defeat that would be a major embarrassment to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party. "If your teenage son was locked in his bedroom this long, you wouldn't say, 'Hey buddy, are you doing extra credit homework in there?'" The Senate Bill, however, will allow insurers to provide less than needed coverage in states that get waivers for essential health benefits. It disregards women's reproductive health and other special health care needs. I think the Senate has taken a remarkably positive step forward. They said the proposal doesn't meet the GOP promise to Americans "to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs", the Associated Press reported.

Over time, the flexibility built into the legislation and the return to more market competition should slow the rise of insurance premiums. One of the most eyebrow-raising, which some called the "Buffalo Bribe" (a reference to the hometown of one of the provision's authors, Representative Chris Collins), involved language forcing New York State to pick up Medicaid costs now borne by counties. The so-called individual mandate - aimed at keeping insurance markets solvent by prompting younger, healthier people to buy policies - has always been one of the GOP's favorite targets.

After seven years of vocally opposing Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA), Republicans found at the start of this Congress that designing a replacement that slashes taxes while keeping the current system's most popular features (such as ensuring affordable coverage for people with pre-existing conditions) is harder than it looks.

If Republicans fail again to pass a health care bill, they can pretty much forget about getting meaningful tax reform done, or much else on their agenda.

The Senate is considering a bill to replace it after the House of Representatives passed their own version.

They also would repeal a penalty imposed on large employers that do not provide insurance to their workers, and remove the fine that Obamacare imposes on those who choose to go uninsured. The Senate Republicans' plan puts a lid on that by rolling back the Obama-era expansion of the program and then granting states a set amount of money for each person enrolled.

An analysis of the bill by the Congressional Budget Office, highlighting its expected costs and effectiveness, is expected early next week. Rand Paul (R-KY) made the argument that those who might lose their Medicaid coverage due to any Obamacare repeal should be offered an low-priced option for coverage. "I will carefully review this legislation to ensure that if it were to become law, it would be beneficial to the people of SC", he said, citing the "eventual collapse" of Obamacare.

If passed in its current form, the Senate bill would greatly weaken Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides insurance to almost 69 million people, more than any other government or private program. Well, I've done in five months what other people haven't done in years.

"We'll probably have to see", Trump added.

More significantly, ends Medicaid's longtime status as an open-ended entitlement, with Washington paying a share of what each state spends.

Heller said that to win his vote, GOP leaders would have to "protect Medicaid expansion states" from the bill's current cuts.

While other states broadly expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, Florida kept one of the nation's stingiest Medicaid programs, offering relatively low reimbursements to providers and limiting eligibility based on income to poorer children and their parents, pregnant women, people with disabilities and seniors in nursing homes. It would also lower the annual income limit for receiving subsidies to cover insurance premiums to 350% of the poverty level, or about $42,000 for an individual, from 400%.

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