Republicans are out of ideas on healthcare reform: John L. Micek

A draft circulating late Wednesday showed the Senate legislation would still make major changes to the nation's health care system, drastically cut back on federal support of Medicaid, and eliminate Obamacare's taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others.

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell smiles as he leaves the chamber after announcing the release of the Republicans' healthcare bill which represents the party's long-awaited attempt to scuttle much of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 22, 2017.

Since leaving office, Obama has largely stayed out of the public spotlight, and rarely comments on the political news of the day.

"This bill is just as bad as the House bill, taking coverage away from millions of people and making huge cuts to Medicaid". The bill would continue the enhanced Medicaid expansion funding from Obamacare until 2021 and then phase it out over three years. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said South Carolinians deserve better than Obamacare but added, "Only after a careful review of the (GOP) legislation will I be able to determine if this bill achieves those goals". It's about the character of our country - who we are, and who we aspire to be.

The bill would cut and redesign the Medicaid program for low-income and disabled people, and erase taxes on higher earners and the medical industry that helped pay for the roughly 20 million Americans covered by Obama's law.

"I know that if it doesn't meet the needs of Kansans, it won't get my vote", he said.

Maine's Susan Collins expressed similar concerns through a spokesperson, who told reporters, "She has a number of concerns and will be particularly interested in examining the forthcoming CBO analysis on the impact on insurance coverage, the effect on insurance premiums, and the changes to the Medicaid program".

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that "Democrats would do much better as a party if they got together with Republicans on Healthcare, Tax Cuts, Security".

But most senators said they haven't read the text of the legislation and withheld comment.

Trump has already tried to cajole Paul to back the Senate bill, and he's expected to ratchet up the pressure.

Almost the exact same number of Democrats said they don't. Trump has since called it "mean", despite celebrating it at the Rose Garden with House Republicans.

Any new Senate bill would have to be reconciled with the House version.

The Senate's bill offers increased financial assistance to some lower-income Americans to help them afford increasingly expensive private health insurance. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. "With the Affordable Care Act, we had over 100 hearings, multiple amendments, Republican amendments, and here we have now a bill that's being drafted behind closed doors", she said.

Additionally, the bill allows states to redefine what counts as an Essential Health Benefit for Medicaid plans. This is a concession to moderates, who weren't pleased that the House version would end the enhanced support for new enrollees in 2020. Trump has been threatening to discontinue those payments, and some insurance companies have cited uncertainty over those funds as reasons why they are abandoning some markets and boosting premiums.

And they would bar people from using tax credits to buy policies that pay for abortion, and also block Planned Parenthood from getting any money from Medicaid for a year.

  • Leroy Wright