Obamacare replacement bill runs into Republican trouble
- Author: Joanne Flowers Jun 23, 2017,
Jun 23, 2017, 14:04
Dozens of amendments are expected, and the Senate schedules back-to-back-to-back votes known on Capitol Hill as a "vote-a-rama".
The GOP-proposed bill would repeal Obamacare's individual mandate, drastically cut back federal support of Medicaid, and eliminate Obamacare's taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Mike Lee (Utah) - have said they can not support it because it does not fully repeal Obamacare or do enough to lower costs. Democrats are united in opposition.
Former President Barack Obama slammed the Senate GOP's health care proposal released Thursday as "not a health care bill", but rather, a "transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America". But numerous complaints about rising premiums in the Affordable Care Act have come from politicians concerned about people who are directly affected by large premium increases, meaning people are too wealthy to qualify for subsidies.
At a closed-door meeting with senators last week President Donald Trump reportedly called the House's health care plan "mean", and now Democrats are taking the President to task for his words, calling the Senate GOP bill "meaner".
Obama weighed in on Facebook.
Simply put, if there's a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family - this bill will do you harm. Places a per-person limit on future federal contributions, starting in 2020.
Conservatives and libertarians oppose the bill because, to a greater extent than the House bill, it temporarily props up Obamacare.
And, because we are talking about health care, it will also end in the deaths of many Americans who will no longer be able to afford care.
A Congressional Budget Office examination of the House bill estimated that it would cost as many as 23 million Americans their health insurance in the coming years.
The U.S. House passed its version of a health care overhaul in early May.
But the 142-page draft would allow states to drop several benefits mandated under current law, such as maternity care and hospital services, and also abolishes the requirement for most Americans to have health insurance.
For Alaskans who buy their insurance policies on the exchange, the Senate bill keeps the subsidies but lowers the income threshold for eligibility. Dean Heller of Nevada, facing a competitive 2018 re-election battle, Ohio's Rob Portman and Capito of West Virginia expressed concerns about the bill's cuts to Medicaid and drug addiction efforts.
But right now, after eight years, the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite.
SUBSIDIES FOR PRIVATE INSURANCE Obama law: Provides two kinds of subsidies for people who don't have access to coverage on the job. Corona says Medicaid helps his son Anthony get out of bed every morning.
The Senate Republican proposal "does not pull the rug out from anyone now covered by Obamacare", Toomey insisted, adding that it maintains Medicaid expansion for working age, childless adults, but asks states to "contribute their fair share" over a seven-year plan. They're two women who have in the past been reluctant to support another one of these bill's goals, which is to block funds for Planned Parenthood.
Richard Burr of North Carolina said outside the Senate: "I'm supportive of it".
"Obamacare isn't working", McConnell said on the floor.
People getting subsidies to help buy health insurance would see at least three sharp changes - tied to both age and income - that could dramatically affect how much they pay for coverage if the Senate Republican health plan becomes law.
U.S. Capitol Police said 43 were arrested and the department nd would make an announcement about the number of arrests and charges later in the day, spokeswoman Eva Malecki said.
The Senate bill's passage came into question hours after leaders unveiled it Thursday, as four conservative members of the chamber - enough to doom it to failure - said they would vote against the bill as written. Instead, they want to hold back their final decision till after all the negotiations are done and dusted.