The Senate has been working on putting together a health care bill that will pass this time since last time’s health care bill bombed, however five Republican senators have publicly said that they are against part of their party’s heath care bill. Four of those conservative Republicans opposed to the bill are Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson and Mike Lee. “As currently drafted, this bill draft does not do nearly enough to lower premiums. That should be the central issue for Republicans — repealing Obamacare and making health care more affordable. Because of this, I cannot support it as currently drafted, and I do not believe it has the votes to pass the Senate.” Cruz said in a statement obtained by CNN.
The bill would repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate, drastically cut back federal support of Medicaid, and eliminate Obamacare’s taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others. Even with all these changes President Donald Trump still praises the bill, “It’s going to be very good. A little negotiation but it’s going to be very good.”
Some key issues to consider:
Pre-existing conditions: The Senate bill would require insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions and ban them from raising premiums on consumers’ health history, however it will allow the states to waive the federal mandate on what insurers must cover. This would allow insurers to offer less comprehensive policies so people with pre-existing conditions might not get all their conditions and treatments covered. (CNN)
Medicaid: The bill would continue the enhanced Medicaid expansion funding from Obamacare until 2021 and then phase it out over three years. The Senate bill would keep the House plan to send a fixed amount of money to states each year based on enrollment or as a lump sum block grant. But it would shrink the program even more over time by pegging the annual growth rate of those funds to standard inflation, rather than the more generous medical inflation, starting in 2025. This would likely force states to cut enrollment, benefits or provider payments. (CNN)
Premium Subsidies: The Senate bill would also largely maintain Obamacare’s premium subsidies structure, but tighten the eligibility criteria starting in 2020. Fewer middle class folks would get help because only those earning up to 350% of the poverty level would qualify, rather than the 400% threshold contained in Obamacare. But it would also open up the subsidies to enrollees below the poverty level so those living in states that didn’t expand Medicaid could get some assistance. (CNN)
Planned Parenthood: The House Bill would defund Planned Parenthood for one year.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been pushing for a vote on the plan before the July 4 recess but some on Capitol Hill say that’s too soon. With every Democrat expected to vote ‘NO’, Republicans can only afford to lose two votes to pass the bill.