GOP has an uphill climb to win public support for health care

Henrietta Strickland
June 23, 2017

Obama also repeated a claim that he has made in the past: that he would support a Republican healthcare bill that improved upon his signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act. According to two Republicans in close contact with Senate GOP leadership granted anonymity to describe private conversations, McConnell is threatening to bring the bill to a vote next week even if he doesn't have the necessary votes.

It remained unclear whether McConnell has the 50 votes he needs for passage, as nearly a dozen GOP senators voiced reservations. "I will oppose it coming to the floor in its current form, but I remain open to negotiations". Mike Lee (R-UT), released a statement Thursday afternoon, saying they are, however, willing to continue negotiations before the bill goes to the floor.

That remains true. So I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there's a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it's to make people's lives better, not worse.

Premiums subsidies: The Senate bill would also largely maintain Obamacare's premium subsidies structure, but tighten the eligibility criteria starting in 2020.

What's in the Senate bill?

"The Senate Republican bill is a tax giveaway to the wealthiest Americans; the top one tenth of the one percent would receive thousands upon thousands of annual tax cuts while some individuals with disabilities lose coverage".

"We have a responsibility to move forward, and we are", said McConnell, R-Ky. The so-called individual mandate - aimed at keeping insurance markets solvent by prompting younger, healthier people to buy policies - has always been one of the GOP's favorite targets.

Senate GOP bill: Generally follows House standard.

Correction: President Trump was referring to the House health care bill when he described it as "mean".

The association representing Arizona's hospitals says the Senate bill repealing much of the Affordable Care Act would be devastating to millions of Americans who rely on Medicaid for their care.

Like the House bill, the Senate measure would make big changes to Medicaid that in effect would reduce federal spending on the program.

Many scoffed at the short period of time they will have to read the bill - one week - before voting on it. McConnell said that the Congressional Budget Office scoring of the bill won't be released until next week.

The bill mostly aligns with the House plan, but ties federal subsidies for individuals based on their income rather than age - as the Affordable Care Act now does.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., facing a tough re-election fight next year, said he had "serious concerns' about the bill's Medicaid reductions".

The bill have to undergo parliamentary scrutiny to ensure that it meets the strict requirements on what can or can't be included in a bill under the budget reconciliation process.

"If the bill is good for Nevada, I'll vote for it and if it's not - I won't", Heller.

The group says the more gradual phase-out of Medicaid expansion now covering 400,000 Arizonans gives states more time to adjust.

All of which is an acknowledgment that Obamacare gets more right than it doesn't. A CBS News poll published on Tuesday found that 59 percent of people disapproved of the House bill.

Ending Obama's expansion has been a major problem for some GOP senators. To be sure, some enrollees who exceed that new income limit might lose only a small subsidy because of the way the current law is structured, but older enrollees could lose substantial amounts. States could not get exemptions to Obama's prohibition against charging higher premiums for some people with pre-existing medical conditions, but the subsidies would be lower, Pearson said, making coverage less unaffordable. 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.

The U.S. Senate proposal would change the base year for the caps from fiscal 2016, as approved by the House, to allow states to choose their Medicaid expenditures over eight financial quarters, from the beginning of 2014 through the third quarter of this year.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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