WASHINGTON-Senate Republicans released their long-awaited bill Thursday to dismantle much of Barack Obama's health care law, proposing to cut Medicaid for low-income Americans and erase tax boosts that Obama imposed on high-earners and medical companies to finance his expansion of coverage.
Just a few hours after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., revealed his proposal's contents, Republican senators from the middle and the right quickly raised objections to key elements or offered tepid reactions. The package represents McConnell's attempt to quell criticism by party moderates and conservatives and win the support he needs in a vote he hopes to stage next week. Both the House and Senate would have to vote again on a final version before sending it to President Donald Trump for signature.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, CSRs are projected to cost $7 billion in 2017 and increase in the future.
The House version of the bill scrapped income-based tax incentives in favor of a blanket tax credit for individuals that's based on their age.
Senate Republican leadership released a "discussion draft" of their healthcare bill on Thursday, saying that there will be ample opportunity for senators to analyse, discuss and provide their thoughts before the legislation goes to the floor for a vote.
Federal taxes might be lowered for some, but we're likely to see taxes rise in states that choose to maintain insurance coverage at current levels. The BCRA, unlike the House bill, would never let insurers charge more to people who already have a health condition.
For all the objections and theatrics by Senate Democrats - Sen. For the first time, more than ninety percent of Americans know the security of health insurance.More news: Microgaming New Releases for 2017
So while someone who is chronically ill cannot be denied insurance under either the House or Senate plans, less expensive insurance options could lack the coverage they need, or it could come with huge out-of-pocket costs.
Texas's other USA senator, John Cornyn, a member of McConnell's GOP leadership team, unsurprisingly said he was on board.
The bill would phase out the extra money Obama's law provides to states that have expanded coverage under the federal-state Medicaid program for low-income people.
Like the House bill, the ACA's Medicaid expansion would be phased out under the Senate bill.
"I have serious concerns about the bill's impact on the Nevadans who depend on Medicaid", said Nevada Senator Dean Heller to the New York Times Thursday. Unlimited federal dollars now flow to each state for the program, covering all eligible beneficiaries and services.
That could be hard for insurers to absorb, given that the Senate and House bills also eliminate the tax penalty for individuals who don't carry insurance. Medicaid now provides all the money needed to cover eligible recipients and procedures for millions of newly insured people.
"This bill will result in higher costs, less care and millions of Americans will lose their health insurance, particularly through Medicaid", Schumer said. He claimed that the health care bill needed "a little negotiation, but it's going to be very good". The Democrats across the board did not like what they saw, calling it mean, but neither did some Republicans.
But talks appear far from the finish line, as Kentucky's more libertarian-minded senator, Rand Paul, looks to flex some legislative muscle.