Published: Thu, June 22, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Senate GOP releases bill to cut Medicaid, alter 'Obamacare'

The Senate bill would also reduce subsidies now provided to help people without workplace coverage get private health insurance, said Caroline Pearson, a senior vice president of the health care consulting firm Avalare Health.

"This is a bill created to strip away health care benefits and protections from Americans who need it most in order to give a tax break to the folks who need it least", Schumer said.

Steve Wagner, executive director of UHCAN Ohio, a healthcare advocacy group, said that although Trump recently said the House bill was "mean", the Senate bill is worse.

So, to review: The Senate bill keeps Obamacare's subsidy structure in place while paring back eligibility, guts Medicaid more slowly but more severely than the House bill, and still lets states drop essential consumer protections, although not as many as the House. This approach would encourage carriers in states with laxer rules to limit their offerings to minimal plans that would be largely useless to people with extensive health problems.

The Senate is expected to release its full plan on Thursday.

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One report that will inform Senate Republicans as they decide whether to support the bill will be a score from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which says it will release it early next week.

There was a stark difference in reactions from Florida's US senators to Thursday's reveal of the long-awaited Senate health care bill, with Democrat Bill Nelson extremely critical and Republican Marco Rubio cautious but so far not expressing any major reservations. In fact, while the cuts will be rolled out a little slower, over time, they will be even greater than the House's version of the bill.

Facing unanimous Democratic opposition, Republicans can suffer defections by no more than two of their 52 senators and still push the measure through the Senate. She said an analysis of the bill by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, expected Monday, would be "extremely important to me because I want to know the impact on coverage and on cost".

Sen. Jon Tester (D) calls this a lack of transparency and blasted the bill Tuesday on the Senate floor.

About 11 million adults gained insurance under the expansion program - which is part of Obamacare - in the 31 states that participate.

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The new legislation would eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a non-profit health organization that Trump's administration has targeted for cuts because it provides abortion services. Federal subsidies will also be pegged to income rather than age, which was the guideline in the House proposal.

The House waiver allowing higher premiums for some people with pre-existing serious illnesses was added shortly before that chamber approved its bill last month and helped attract conservative support.

The draft bill, however, cuts federal funding to Medicaid, which will force states to make deep cuts to their healthcare programs for the poor. First of all, the House bill is nowhere close to moderate.

USA senators expressed concern on Wednesday about a plan to overhaul the US healthcare system, fearing a rush to consider the major legislation as Republican leaders prepare to unveil it.

Cost-sharing subsides: The bill would also aim to shore up the existing Obamacare market by allocating funds for the cost-sharing subsidies until 2019.

Here's what's in that secret GOP healthcare bill
Republicans are angling toward a Senate vote next week on their effort to erase much of President Barack Obama's health care law. Democrats, of course, are complaining about the Senate's process, but they largely don't have the power to do anything about it.

Those senators - Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin - issued a joint statement about their position.

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