Senate GOP health bill would reshape Obama law

Secret Senate bill to replace Obamacare expected to come to light

Top Senate Republicans prepared Wednesday to release their plan for dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law, a proposal that would cut and revamp Medicaid, end penalties on people not buying coverage and eliminate tax increases that financed the statute's expansion of coverage, lobbyists and congressional aides said.

The subsidies enabling low-income people to buy private health insurance are expected to be linked to recipients' income in the Senate bill, a "major improvement" from a measure approved last month by the House that tied them exclusively to age, Republican Senator Susan Collins said. The Senate measure would also seek to phase out the program's expansion - although at a more gradual rate than the House version. Tax cuts for the wealthiest among us take precedent over your affordable care.

It faces uniform Democratic opposition.

The measure would provide $50 billion over the next four years that states could use in an effort to shore up insurance markets around the country. He said "small tweaks" during the upcoming debate "cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation".

Also, as in the House bill, it would defund Planned Parenthood for one year.

"I gotta tell you, the fights on Medicaid, there are a whole bunch of Republicans that are arguing we need to spend more, more, more, more, more, who frankly sound like Democrats", Cruz said.

While moderates are likely to applaud the delayed cuts to the Medicaid program, some are likely to raise issue with the fact that the Senate bill allows states to obtain waivers to opt-out of the "essential health benefits" provision under the A.C.A. -as did the House bill. Though they oppose the Republican House bill and are anxious about what the Senate majority is designing, they have had no actual Senate legislation against which to rail. But Trump says that Republicans would love to have Democratic support.

Conservative Republican Senator Rand Paul, who wants a full repeal of Obamacare, said he feared that with the legislation being developed, "we're actually going to be replacing Obamacare with Obamacare", referring to the continuing role of government.

But GOP senators are mindful that failure may not be an option now that Republicans have the majority in Congress and control of the White House.

"This bill is the result of 13 Republican men working in a room without input from doctors, patient groups, other lawmakers, or - more importantly - any one of the millions of Americans whose health care will be irreparably damaged if this bill becomes law". Unlimited federal dollars now flow to each state for the program, covering all eligible beneficiaries and services.

While the House bill pegged federal insurance subsidies to age, the Senate measure would link them to income as the Affordable Care Act does.

Now that the bill is public, a review from the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office is expected in the coming days.

The funds are paid to insurers to defray premium costs for low income members.

The Senate plan maintains ACA income based subsidies for individuals who purchase plans on the health insurance exchanges for 2018 to 2019.

The legislation also suspends Cadillac tax on high-end employer health plans through 2025. Trump has been threatening to discontinue those payments, and some insurance companies have cited uncertainty over those funds as reasons why they are abandoning some markets and boosting premiums. Death and Taxes asked a speed-reading world champion and a cognitive scientist how senators can study their health care repeal bill in just one week.

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