Senate GOP Health Bill Would Overhaul Obama Law

Democrats have been hammering Republicans this week on the Senate floor for a lack of transparency on their bill that was drafted behind closed doors, arguing that Democrats held about 100 hearings and meetings on the Affordable Care Act before its passage in 2010.

But Trump has made a slight about-face about health care reform since cheering the House bill during a Rose Garden ceremony. Republican leaders have been contemplating a slow winding-down of the program, making it less generous or creating carve-outs so certain groups don't lose coverage, such as children with chronic health problems. Other employer mandates would also be eliminated, as well as almost all of Obamacare's taxes.

Under the House bill, the extra federal funding for those now enrolled under Medicaid expansion would continue as long as they remain in the program. This will please the medical device makers, investors, high earners, and insurance companies that were taxed by the ACA.

Opioid treatment could also lose funding, though some senators are weighing the option of creating a pool of money to be available for that goal. Second, the shift to per-capita caps for federal funding to Medicaid, which would give federal aid based on the number of people and adjust this for a person's age and any disabilities.

Premiums subsidies: The Senate bill would also largely maintain Obamacare's premium subsidies structure, but tighten the eligibility criteria starting in 2020. That money now covers all eligible recipients and procedures. The bill would also cut the planned expansion of Medicaid for the poor and disabled over 3 years from 2021 to 2024, and enact deeper cuts in the program than the previously passed House version beginning in 2025, and would allow states to add work requirements for certain Medicaid enrollees.

"As now drafted, this bill draft does not do almost enough to lower premiums", Cruz said in a statement obtained by CNN.

Calling the Senate bill "more moderate" than the House's AHCA is a low bar and framing the Senate bill that way is deceptive. Some conservatives want a bill "meaner" than the House version, he said, while other Republicans say they care about Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor.

"If we went and got the single greatest health care plan in the history of the world we would not get one Democrat vote because they're obstructionists".

Separately, the Senate bill restructures a system of subsidies that help Americans pay for private insurance on the Obamacare marketplaces. Because of this, I can not support it as now drafted, and I do not believe it has the votes to pass the Senate.

Medicaid provided essential services to more than 10 million people with disabilities in 2011, before Obamacare expanded coverage.

The bill faces broad opposition from Democrats. The CBO said the House-passed bill would result in 23 million fewer people with insurance by 2026.

Senate Republicans will begin their sprint to dismantle Obamacare by finally unveiling their super-secret plan today before racing to build support ahead of a looming Fourth of July recess.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said the bill is "heartless" and "may be meaner" than the House version.

Sen. Rand Paul, as the report notes, isn't just opposed to the hasty and closed-door process being used by Republicans, but he's introducing legislation "requiring that any bills or amendments be filed for at least one day for every 20 pages before they can be brought up on the floor".

  • Larry Hoffman