Draft of Senate GOP health-care bill is out. Subsidies linked to income, Medicaid cut dramatically.

The Washington Post was first to get a draft copy of the ‘secret’ GOP health care bill.

The ‘discussion draft’ is making the rounds among GOP Senators’ aides and lobbyists. It would repeal Obamacare taxes, reduce Medicaid coverage, give states greater ability to opt out of Affordable Care Act regulations, and kill federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The GOP House bill linked insurance subsidies to your age, and the Senate’s version links them to income, as ACA/Obamacare did.

The draft shows that the Senate plans to cut Medicaid spending much more than the House version proposed. In 2025, “the measure would tie federal spending on the program to an even slower growth index than the one used in the House bill,” which could lead to states reducing coverage of their Medicaid programs.

From the Washington Post:

The bill largely mirrors the House measure that narrowly passed last month but with some significant changes. While the House legislation pegged federal insurance subsidies to age, the Senate bill would link them to income as the ACA does. The Senate proposal cuts off Medicaid expansion more gradually than the House bill, but would enact deeper long-term cuts to the health-care program for low-income Americans. It also removes language restricting federally-subsidized health plans from covering abortions, which may have run afoul of complex budget rules.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) intends to present the draft to wary GOP senators at a meeting on Thursday morning. McConnell has vowed to hold a vote before senators go home for the July Fourth recess, but he is still seeking the 50 votes necessary to pass the major legislation under arcane budget rules. A handful of senators from conservatives to moderates are by no means persuaded that they can vote for the emerging measure.

Aides stress that the GOP plan is likely to undergo more changes in order to garner the 50 votes Republicans need to pass it. Moderate senators are concerned about cutting off coverage too fast for those who gained it under Obamacare, while conservatives don’t want to leave big parts of the ACA in place.

The Senate bill would give states more leeway in opting out of the ACA’s insurance regulations through expanding the use of so-called “1332” waivers already embedded within the law, according to the draft proposal. But it wasn’t yet clear Wednesday evening whether the waivers would go so far as allowing insurers to charge patients with preexisting conditions more than those without them for obtaining insurance — or even denying them coverage altogether.

 

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