Collins says she'll study Senate health care bill's impact

Claudine Rigal
Juin 23, 2017

More than one in five CT residents rely on Medicaid, the federal insurance program for low-income and disabled individuals.

Despite McConnell's positive reinforcement, many Republican senators were not immediately sold on the draft legislation after a closed-door briefing Thursday morning. The Senate now has 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats.

Those analyzing the bill are saying it is very similar to Obamacare, despite their talks of repealing the much maligned Obama health care law.

The short turnaround begs the question of whether one week really is enough time to vote on a bill that could restructure 1/6th of the economy, and if Republicans will wait until next month.

"They seem to be enthusiastic about what we're producing tomorrow", No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas told reporters. Republicans had been briefed on the plan behind closed doors.

The bill would provide tax credits to help people buy insurance. Facing unanimous Democratic opposition, the bill would fail if just three of the Senate's 52 GOP senators oppose it.

He said no medical advocacy group in IL had endorsed the House measure, and Durbin predicted the results would be the same after people digested the 142-page GOP "draft legislation" released Thursday morning. And it would end the tax penalties under Obama's law on people who don't buy insurance - the so-called individual mandate - and on larger companies that don't offer coverage to their employees. And at least a half-dozen Republicans - both conservatives and moderates - have complained about it.

U.S. Capitol Police remove a protester against the Senate Republican's draft healthcare bill outside the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 22, 2017.

It also give governors more leeway, allowing them to choose between block grants and per-capita support for funds, as well as giving them the option to impose a work requirement for those who are not pregnant, disabled or elderly to receive Medicaid.

Medicaid would be phased out under the bill beginning in 2021, with gradual reductions until 2024 in the amount of federal Obamacare funds that have financed the entitlement program's expansion. Cuts to federal funding would be felt more acutely in CT, which faces billions in looming deficits and would be unable to replace any lost federal money with state dollars. She said an analysis of the bill by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, expected Monday, would be "extremely important to me because I want to know the impact on coverage and on cost".

Another would rush one massive spending bill for fiscal 2018 through the House in July, instead of the one-dozen separate appropriations bills that Congress tries to write every year.

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