Senate GOP health bill seeks to hobble Obama law

What we saw, at first blush, doesn't look that much different from what House Republicans put center stage earlier this spring.

Four conservative GOP senators quickly announced initial opposition to the measure and others were evasive, raising the specter of a jarring rejection by the Republican-controlled body.

The bill, he said, would not accomplish everything he had hoped to change in the health care market, but that such things could be accomplished later, assuming this bill passes.

McConnell may have a tough job convincing enough Republican senators that the Senate bill improves on the House version.

"We are not ready to vote for this bill".

The honesty of some Senate Republicans about the lack of transparency surrounding their health care bill is refreshing. The Congressional Budget Office has yet to weigh on the plan. It would appear that even the least mean bill that has been considered would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose their healthcare insurance coverage, eventually resulting in a declining quality of life and shortened lives. But several health policy experts said they expected the losses, driven largely by Medicaid cuts, to be on par with those in the House bill.

AVIK ROY: The bill will encourage a lot more of those individuals to buy health insurance. But is it fair to call upon the more affluent among us to continue paying high taxes to subsidize the medical costs of these less fortunate individuals? Democrats countered that the bill is a giveaway to the rich at the expense of middle- and low-income families who will lose health insurance. Medicaid can not be used for even non-abortion medical services at Planned Parenthood clinics. Many Republicans have long fought that organization because it provides abortions.

Medicaid cutbacks are a potential trouble spot for Republican senators from states that have expanded the program under the Affordable Care Act.

“If the only people motivated to buy insurance are going to be the ones who really need it, insurers are really going to have a strong incentive to use their benefit design to deter enrollment for the sickest people, ” said Corlette.

"Over time, it will hopefully go up less rapidly than it was otherwise going to go up, but sort of permanently expanding federal contributions in the Medicaid category are simply not a catastrophic cut, as some would like to characterize it", Toomey said. States can not seek waivers that would allow insurers to charge more based on health.

"It's like a death sentence for older Americans". And the $2 billion allocated for state grants toward addiction services is woefully inadequate to address a national opioid epidemic. However, they must collect a separate premium, strictly segregated from taxpayer funds.

Health insurers were also trading broadly higher with large players Aetna AET.N and UnitedHealth Group UNH.N each up about 1 percent.

With Republicans in the Senate holding only a 52-48 seat edge, they can afford only two defections to get to a 50-50 tie, allowing Vice President Pence to then presumably break any logjam. Give senators and the public time to study the plan, debate its merits. Senate leaders are aiming for a vote before July 4. "She has met with and heard the concerns of many Mainers about their health care challenges, and she will continue to do so as she studies the impact of this legislation on ME and the nation".

  • Larry Hoffman