Senate Republicans released their long-awaited bill today to dismantle much of Barack Obama's health care law, proposing to cut Medicaid and erase tax boosts that helped Obama finance his expansion of coverage. "I said, 'Add some money to it!'" This marks a divergence from the House bill, which tied subsidies to age.
The whole controversy has increased public support for a simple single payer Medicare for All plan long advocated by many supporters of the idea that healthcare is a right, not a privilege available to only people who can pay.
In closed-door sessions this week, Republican senators from states hardest hit by the current drug crisis tried to soften those deep Medicaid cuts by advocating for a separate funding stream of $45 billion over 10 years for substance abuse treatment and prevention, costs now covered Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. "It does the most damage through a radical restricting of Medicaid. that will cause families to lose care", U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat representing the Tampa area, said during a Thursday telephone press conference.
Any new Senate bill would have to be reconciled with the House version. With the end of the employer mandate, businesses with 50 or more employees would be free to not offer health insurance to full-time workers, and the bill also further delays a "Cadillac Tax" on high-dollar employer health plans from 2020 to 2026. Joe Donnelly released a statement criticizing GOP leaders for working in secret, "without a single Senate hearing" and called for bipartisan cooperation. The Senate formula puts the programme on a budget and substantially reduces future Medicaid spending. Uses a less generous inflation adjustment than House bill. "It's going to shift who pays".
While other states broadly expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, Florida kept one of the nation's stingiest Medicaid programs, offering relatively low reimbursements to providers and limiting eligibility based on income to poorer children and their parents, pregnant women, people with disabilities and seniors in nursing homes.
"The Senate TrumpCare bill is a disgrace and a disaster". States would be allowed to choose per capita caps based on the number of people in their Medicaid programs or block grants with fewer federal rules. That's because they're keyed to the cost of a bare-bones plan, and because additional help now provided for deductibles and copayments would be discontinued.
SENATE BILL - Preserves the subsidies through 2019, then eliminates them altogether. That law extended the program to some low-income Americans above the poverty level. But the benchmark for subsidies would be a bare-bones "bronze" plan. CSR payments until 2019 would cost $28 billion.
Obama law: Insurers can not charge their oldest customers more than 3 times what they charge young adults. "Insurers can stop providing coverage for mental health and addiction services", Baltimore health commissioner Leana Wen said in a statement responding to the Senate bill.
"The Senate's proposal is not fundamentally different from the House's approach".
Obama law: Requires those deemed able to afford coverage to have a policy or risk fines from the IRS.
Democrats immediately attacked the legislation as a callous giveaway to the rich that would leave millions without coverage. If you are willing to visit their offices. That allows states to make some big changes if they'd like - for example, changing the "essential health benefits" that insurers are required to provide under Obamacare.
The legislation would roll back Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid, starting in four short years.