Health Care

Senate Health Bill Would Revamp Medicaid, Alter ACA Guarantees, Cut Premium Support

Among respondents who supported President Donald Trump, 55 percent approved of the Republican bill, compared with 69 percent in May.

Republicans view the law, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, as a costly government intrusion and say individual insurance markets created by it are collapsing. And the Senate bill would take more time to phase out the ACA's expansion of Medicaid coverage; despite claims that this represents "heart", it may have less to do with compassion than skewing how the bill is scored by the Congressional Budget Office. The entire Medicaid program as Americans know it could end, and for many Republicans, that's the entire idea.

But the Senate bill also attempts to soften other much-derided aspects of the House's health-care plan, in an effort to attract moderate votes.

Both bills repeal almost all of the ACA's taxes, like the health insurance tax, the medical device tax and the net investment income tax.

A major sticking point for pro-life groups and the US bishops was Hyde Amendment-language protecting taxpayer subsidies from being used to pay for abortions.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, followed by Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, leaves a Republican meeting on healthcare.

Immediately after its release four Republican senators said they couldn't support it. Let's hope there are more who care enough about the health of women, children and the elderly to stop this travesty.

The draft also strips Planned Parenthood of taxpayer funding and redirects that funding to community health centers which do not provide abortions.

Pennsylvania's other senator, Republican Pat Toomey, was among the lawmakers involved in crafting the bill.

"It's like walking through a minefield for him", said Republican Sen.

And Susan Collins of ME restated her opposition to blocking federal money for Planned Parenthood. Like the House bill, it would repeal virtually all the tax increases imposed by the Affordable Care Act to pay for the program itself. University of Houston Professor Seth Chandler, who specializes in health and insurance law, said that with all the focus on how the GOP health bill significantly reduces Medicaid funding, the effects on Medicare have become something of an afterthought.

Theoretically, people affected by the end of that program could get federal subsidies to buy coverage under the Senate plan.

As he has multiple times since the ACA's passage in 2010, Obama conceded that the bill was less than flawless and vowed to support any Republican-backed bill that "is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost". A question McConnell answered with: "I think we'll have ample opportunity to read and amend the bill".

Bishop Dewane echoed those concerns that the pro-life language could be stripped from the bill.

Second, the House bill ties Medicaid's growth rate to medical inflation, plus an extra one percent for older and disabled beneficiaries.

"This bill may change, but Republicans will only be putting lipstick on a devastating blow to Americans' health care", said Sen. Their nominee enjoyed zero national press hype, and didn't get major financial support from grassroots donors or party committees. The House bill went with relying exclusively on age, but like the ACA, the Senate version also considers a person's income and geography.

Senate GOP bill: Tax cuts very similar to House bill, though some would be delayed. But both versions permit states to say insurers can reinstate caps on coverage and stop paying for essential health benefits, such as prescriptions, maternity care and substance abuse treatment.

For instance, the Senate GOP proposal would still forbid insurance companies from raising premiums or withholding coverage to people with preexisting medical problems - one of the hallmarks of the Affordable Care Act.

For instance, the bill could set up conscience protections for religious organizations that refuse to comply with previous mandates that coverage for sterilizations and contraceptives be provided in their employee health plans, the bishop noted. "All a state has to do is demonstrate that a waiver won't increase the federal deficit". No state would be allowed to experiment with different models for protecting people with pre-existing conditions.

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