Friday, 18 August, 2017

Senate health care bill: What is in it? Read it here

Rickey Rodriguez | 23 June, 2017, 01:52

Some of the Senate Bill's provisions could be political land mines, with individual senators' reactions crucial to determining whether or not the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, survives a Republican attack that has been underway since its passage in 2010.

"The bill before us was drafted in secret and behind closed doors, and I'm very concerned that the Senate is racing toward a vote without the necessary input, analysis, or even a single Senate hearing".

The bill would repeal virtually all the tax increases on high earners and medical companies imposed to pay for Obamacare.

The law is credited with expanding health insurance to millions of Americans.

Senate Republicans are unveiling their plan at a critical time for Obamacare's insurance exchanges, where consumers can purchase individual coverage.

The legislation will also have to undergo parliamentary scrutiny to ensure that it meets the strict requirements on what can or can't be included in a bill under the budget reconciliation process. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing for a vote next week, giving senators little time to look it over and decide their vote.

Like the House's version, the Senate bill sends cuts to the expansion of Medicaid, but differs in that the cuts wouldn't go into effect until after 2020.

Senior GOP senators were still putting final touches on the draft legislation on Wednesday, and it is still likely to change before any vote as members express their preferences.

"I believe most Hoosiers, like myself, are sick and exhausted of nearly a decade of partisan debates about health care".

McConnell reportedly wants to have a vote on the bill before July 4. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ky., said Thursday it promises to "bring financial certainty to insurance markets". More than 300,000 kids were on Medicaid in the state in 2014, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The bill faces broad opposition from Democrats.

Now that the bill is public, a review from the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office is expected in the coming days.

The bill would also defund Planned Parenthood for a year, and bans federal funds from health care plans that cover abortion.

Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate. And insurers and hospital stocks showed the gains to prove that in the moments after the Senate plan was released.

In a deviation from the House bill, the Senate measure links its tax subsidies to income - as the ACA does - rather than age, though only those earning up to 350 percent of the poverty level would qualify instead of Obamacare's 400 percent threshold.

Democrats accuse Republicans of sabotaging Obamacare, and say the Republican bill will make healthcare unaffordable for poorer Americans while cutting taxes for the wealthy. Republicans may later decide to let insurers in deregulated states sell policies nationwide-meaning that firms in states that kept to the rules would quickly lose healthy customers to cheaper, deregulated providers.

Plus, the continuing government subsidies to the insurers will discourage many of them from offering those cheaper, bare-boned plans the GOP bill is finally going to allow to come back into the market.

Some of the biggest changes this bill makes are to Medicaid, the entitlement program that provides health care to low-income Americans. The bill also suspends the so-called Cadillac tax on generous employer health benefits through 2025.

"The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill", he wrote.

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