Senate Republicans have finally released their “repeal and replace” healthcare legislation.
Here are the major points:
• Strips federal funding from Planned Parenthood
• Ends ACA penalties, including the “individual mandate”
• Caps funding for Medicaid and gradually phases out the program’s expansion
• Cuts taxes on high incomes
• Includes tax credits to help people afford insurance
• Allows young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plans
• Guarantees coverage despite pre-existing conditions
• Includes money to fight opioid epidemic
The 142-page bill is similar to the one passed by the House last month in that it includes serious cuts to Medicaid, but different in that it extends the life of Medicaid expansions and is more generous in terms of tax credits. In some ways, the Senate bill is “a middle ground between the House plan and Obamacare,” reports The Washington Times.
The Medicaid expansion, which began in 2010, would be gradually phased out starting in 2012 and ending in 2024. States would have the option to keep the expansion, but they wouldn’t receive additional funds.
The Senate bill also repeals most of the new taxes associated with the ACA, such as the 3.8% tax on investment income, and allocates billions of dollars to help states stabilize the market mess caused by the ACA and to help insurers offset subsidies that reduce premiums for low-income families.
“It isn’t clear if those changes, such as the shape of the tax credits and a more gradual phasing-out of the Medicaid expansion, would be enough to attract more centrist Republicans without alienating the most conservative lawmakers in both chambers,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to use a special process to pass the bill quickly and with fewer votes. Even so, he will need support from 50 of the 52 Republicans senators. At least six of them are unsure about the legislation, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz has stated that he will not vote for the bill in its current form.
“Right now we’ve got members who are going to be interested in seeing it, digesting it, and then looking to see if there are things we can do to refine it, make it more acceptable to more members in our conference to get to 50 votes,” said South Dakota Senator John Thune.
Senate leaders hope to vote on the bill next week, after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) releases its report on the bill. If the vote is 50-50, Vice President Mike Pence will be called in to break the tie.
Editor’s note: It’s a start, but needs a lot more substance. See below for a better strategy.
To Hell with Obamacare!
This book was written by Joe Gilbertson of the Punching Bag Post Staff. This is the solution to the Obamacare fiasco: