Nevada's Heller opposes GOP health bill

Henrietta Strickland
June 24, 2017

Yet it still would force those states to figure out what to do about the millions of lower-income Americans who used it to gain health coverage. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell smiles as he leaves the chamber after announcing the release of the Republicans' healthcare bill.

FILE - In this Tuesday, April 18, 2017, file photo, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker addresses reporters during a news conference in Juneau, Alaska.

The concession on tax credits was aimed at winning over moderate Republican Senators from Medicaid expansion states like West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Senate leaders said they needed to do something to replace and fix former President Barack Obama's health care law, which they described as failing due to lack of public participation and high premium costs.

The doubts about the latest plan from Washington came from Republicans, Democrats and the nation's one independent governor.

Should the Republican health care bill become law those who presently rely on Medicaid risk losing affordable and reliable treatment options.

Republican leaders in the House faced the same challenges in March that their Senate counterparts are now confronting.

Republicans in full control of government are on the brink of history-making changes to the nation's health care system.

Medicaid, which has been the main funding source in fighting that epidemic, would be be dramatically cut under the plan.

The Senate bill would phase out extra money Obama's law provides to 31 states that agreed to expand coverage under the federal-state Medicaid program. The federal share drops to 90 per cent after 2020.

The group said in a statement Friday it's encouraged that the Senate bill would take immediate action to stabilize shaky insurance markets by guaranteeing billions of dollars in subsidies under jeopardy due to a legal dispute and political maneuvering.

So why isn't the continuous-coverage provision already in the bill? Currently, there is no limit on how much the program will pay for care for those enrolled.

Senate GOP bill: Creates $2 billion fund to provide grants to states for substance abuse and mental health treatment. Overall though, politicians from both parties agree that there isn't a huge difference in the two bills.

Trying to keep the expansion without added federal help could blow a hole in state budgets. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those costs are rising there and elsewhere even with the federal government paying for most of the expansion, largely because more people signed up than originally expected.

"We agreed on the need to free Americans from Obamacare's mandate so Americans are no longer forced to buy insurance they don't need or can't afford", McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday.

In Montana, 20 per cent of residents didn't have medical insurance in 2013.

The Senate bill would also cut all taxes related to the Affordable Care Act, including mandates that everyone have health insurance and that employers with more than 50 workers provide health coverage for their workers. The Kentucky Republican aims to have a vote on the proposed legislation next week, prior to Congress' July 4 recess.

At the same time that Trumpcare will kick millions people off Medicaid, contributing to a spike in the uninsured rate in America, it's also promoting block granting as a funding model. "And we'll see if we can take care of that", Trump said in an interview with Fox News that aired on Friday, calling the group of conservative lawmakers "four very good people".

Economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a longtime GOP adviser, says the Republican approach is "180 degrees different in its economic and budgetary philosophy", from the course steered by Obama.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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