Published: Fri, June 23, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Senate health care bill is unconsicionable


Speaking in Washington, Paul said the bill "needs to look more like repeal and less like we're keeping Obamacare", while expressing concern that Obamacare subsidies "will remain in place and may well exceed what is in the current Obamacare".

"Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor", the statement reads. Still, the similarities to Obamacare will likely infuriate conservatives such as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who decried the House version as "Obamacare Lite".

The subsidies would also phase out further down the income scale than they used to, at 350 percent of the federal poverty level rather than 400 percent.

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Doctors and patient groups slammed the Better Care Reconciliation Act released by Republican Senators on Thursday, taking issue in particular with Medicaid cuts in the bill.

"I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party", Obama wrote in a lengthy Facebook post. Senate leaders are aiming for a vote before July 4.

On the Senate floor Thursday, Cornyn single-handedly defended the bill at length against several disgruntled Democrats, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer from NY, who criticized the way the Republicans crafted the bill.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the second ranking member in the Senate, said the bill is "not a final product". The CBO projects the House-passed American Health Care Act would lead to 23 more million Americans being uninsured in a decade.

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For the next two years, it would also provide money that insurers use to help lower out-of-pocket costs for millions of low-income people, called cost-sharing reductions.

The American Lung Association also opposed the bill, citing the Medicaid cuts. Republicans say it costs too much and involves the federal government too much in healthcare. Senators were briefed on the bill's details Thursday morning, and McConnell said a vote is approaching next week pending a score from the Congressional Budget Office.

"Many "no" votes today are just callously propositioning to get to "yes" after meaningless changes", Democratic Senator Chris Murphy noted, cynically, on Twitter. The Maine lawmakers hasn't taken a position on the bill, but has a number of concerns.

But Caroline Pearson, a senior vice president at the consulting firm Avalere Health, says the bill bases its tax credits on lower-quality insurance."If you're paying a similar percentage of income, you're getting a less generous product under this new plan", she says. He said he was briefed on elements of the latest Senate proposal but continues to review the legislation. McConnell hopes the package will garner enough support from moderate and conservative Republicans for a vote he wants to have next week. Susan Collins, R-Maine, when asked in an MSNBC interview what "line in the sand" she would not cross to support the bill, said, "I can not support a bill that's going to greatly increase premiums for older Americans or out-of-pocket costs for those who aren't quite old enough for Medicare yet".

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"Then, I'm going to stay focused on it next week as the bill goes to the Senate floor - where it will be subject to virtually unlimited amendments - and my focus will be on how it affects Tennesseans". "It will enable a lot more people to be able to afford buying health insurance", Cruz told The Hill on Thursday afternoon.

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