Senate Healthcare Bill Already in Trouble

Claudine Rigal
Juin 24, 2017

On Thursday, he was among the first to release a statement raising "serious concerns about the bill's impact on the Nevadans who depend on Medicaid".

Yet it faces an uncertain fate in the Senate. Moderates thought the bill was too harsh, while conservatives wanted a faster rollback of Obamacare. Democrats already deeply oppose Republican attempts to overhaul former USA president Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.

But the measure landed in rough seas ahead of a vote that Sen.

"I don't believe that the President has specifically weighed in that it's right to cut Medicaid", Sanders said.

Those cuts are especially cruel at a time when an aging population will increasingly depend on Medicaid, including for nursing home care, and when states need Medicaid to combat opioid addiction.

The GOP-proposed bill would repeal Obamacare's individual mandate, drastically cut back federal support of Medicaid, and eliminate Obamacare's taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others.

"For me a block grant would be the best of all worlds".

Shortly after the 142-page bill was distributed, more than a half-dozen GOP lawmakers signaled concerns or initial opposition. Trump promised during his campaign not to reduce Medicaid.

"Our job now is to rally millions of Americans against this disastrous bill to make sure that it does not pass the Senate". It would let insurers provide fewer benefits, offer less generous subsidies than Obama to help people buy policies and end the statute's tax penalties on people who don't buy policies and on larger firms that don't offer coverage to workers. It would also offer $2 billion in state grants to address the opioid epidemic.

As he has multiple times since the ACA's passage in 2010, Obama conceded that the bill was less than ideal 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". But he said it was time to act. "Because Obamacare is a direct attack on the middle class, and American families deserve better than its failing status quo".

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the House bill would cause 23 million people to lose coverage by 2026. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. In a Senate speech, he said it would "eliminate costly Obamacare taxes that are passed on to consumers, so we can put downward pressure on premiums", and that it would "shift power from Washington to the states so they have more flexibility to provide more Americans with the kind of affordable insurance options they actually want". Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of ME and Rob Portman of Ohio.

Trump shares that view, and passage of the Senate bill would move the president much closer to being able to boast about the adoption of a marquee piece of legislation, a feat he has so far been unable to accomplish. When Trump stupidly referred to the House bill as "mean", he was nearly certainly referring to the provision in that measure that lets insurers charge higher premiums to those with preexisting conditions in states that have received a waiver from the federal government.

"It's simply not the answer", the Nevada Republican said at a news conference alongside Gov. Brian Sandoval in Las Vegas. But medical groups announced opposition, saying it would diminish coverage.

President Donald Trump said Thursday "a little negotiation" is needed to add more heart to the "very good" health care bill, as Senate Republicans finally publicly released their legislation.

"It will dictate to West Virginia restricted contours for our own state program and force West Virginia to cut off the Medicaid life-line for seniors, adults and children people with disabilities, other children and many hardworking adults who have no health insurance coverage through their jobs", Fields said in the release.

While these basic elements are part of the Senate bill, overall it lays out a path toward less government spending.

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