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Blumenthal To Hold Second 'Emergency Hearing' On Health Care

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Republicans released their long-awaited bill Thursday to dismantle much of Barack Obama's health care law, proposing to cut Medicaid for low-income Americans and erase tax boosts that Obama imposed on high-earners and medical companies to finance his expansion of coverage.

Senators and their top aides on Capitol Hill have made it clear to the White House as health care legislation makes its way through the Senate that the less involved Trump is, the better for the bill's prospects. While the House legislation pegged federal insurance subsidies to age, the Senate bill would link them to income as the Affordable Care Act does. The Senate bill ends an expansion of Medicaid funding for states more slowly than the House legislation but imposes larger long-term reductions on the program.

Insurers would be required to sell policies to people with pre-existing conditions and could not charge sick people higher premiums than healthy people. "They're ashamed of a bill that goes against the interests of America", said Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate.

The Senate's Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, is unveiling the measure after weeks of closed-door meetings that angered Democrats and some Republicans.

About 23 million people could lose coverage under the House plan, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Barrasso added that the Senate is "writing our own bill", distancing it from the House version that President Donald Trump called "mean" last week.

If the bill comes to the Senate floor without hearings, they should offer as many amendments as possible to slow Senate proceedings to a crawl.

McConnell has told Republican senators that he wants to maintain protections for people with preexisting conditions under the law. "It's been flying in the air for about seven years and we just need to come in for a nice, soft, easy landing", said Sen.

She said she heard the bill may not contain a provision sought by conservatives that would restrict tax credits from paying for insurance plans that cover abortion. The insurer said it will leave the two individual insurance markets because uncertainty has become too great to continue offering plans.

McConnell hopes to push the measure through the Senate next week. Some from states that have expanded the program have battled to prolong the phase-out, while conservative Republicans have sought to halt the funds quickly. But moderates, like senators Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, want a slower phase out of Medicaid expansion, which covers low-income residents in their states.

"It's my job to find 50 votes, and we're going to have 50 votes", No. 2 Senate Republican leader John Cornyn of Texas said Tuesday.

Murkowski has opposed past conservative efforts to include language barring federal payments to Planned Parenthood, a group many Republicans abhor because it provides abortions. In a tweet, the Democratic senator from NY said the bill "strips away protections from the [people] who need them most in order to give a tax break to those who need it least".

The president spoke shortly after Senate Republicans released a 142-page draft of their bill to get rid of much of the Obamacare law.

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.



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