Republicans unveil health bill at Senate

Claudine Rigal
Juin 25, 2017

The Affordable Care Act has its issues, and it needs more work to lower premiums and deductibles. Like the House, the Senate wants to leave up to the states whether policies must cover such services as emergency, maternity and mental health care.

McConnell, eager to approve the legislation next week, indicated he was open to changes before it reaches the Senate floor, but he said it was time to act.

The KFF poll notes that "proposed Medicaid changes were not initially a major point of discussion surrounding consideration of the House bill... which may partly explain why many respondents were unaware of its effect".

Moller said he wouldn't presume how Kennedy might vote, but noted the senator's public statements have been critical of Medicaid spending and supportive of efforts to scale back the program. On paper, it would repeal ObamaCare's expansion of Medicaid - but not until 2024.

The Better Care Reconciliation Act falls far short of what is needed and will ultimately do significant harm to people with all chronic conditions, including mental illnesses, while increasing the cost of health care to everyone. The ACA has reduced the number of people without insurance to historic lows, and while we are still awaiting the analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, it's clear that the Senate bill, like the House, will deprive millions of Americans of affordable health care. That includes phasing out extra money Obama's statute gives states that have expanded the program, a step Nevada has taken, adding 200,000 additional people. "If Republicans pass this bill, they're the death party".

The bill would cut and redesign the Medicaid program for low-income and disabled people, and erase taxes on higher earners and the medical industry that helped pay for the roughly 20 million Americans covered by Obama's law.

Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina is on record supporting the Senate's repeal bill, while Republican colleague Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday, effectively phasing out Medicaid entirely. "Scott there says that Medicaid's not being cut from their perspective, but based on what we see right now in the bill there's just no way that's true", Zwillich says.

The poor get the same nursing home care for free that those of us with savings pay an amount tantamount to highway robbery for - in New York State, the yearly cost can easily be more than $125,000 (the government, ironically, which could afford to pay more, actually pays substantially less).

"You've got states across the country, including Pennsylvania, that have to balance their budget", he said. If the goal is to cover more people, why slash Medicaid when it is already much more cost-effective than private sector plans?

She also pushed back on the White House's line that the bill would not result in Medicaid cuts.

Any new Senate bill would have to be reconciled with the House version.

Confused? So are many experts in the health care community, who are urging Wisconsin's US senators to find ways to eliminate what the Wisconsin Hospital Association has estimated as a $36.9 billion loss in federal aid by 2025.

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