Senate Republicans Unveil Their Version of Health Care Bill

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jun 22, 2017
Congress

After working for weeks behind closed doors, Senate Republican leaders finally made public the details of their version of the American Healthcare Act, according to the Washington Post. While Senate Republicans had earlier promised a top-to-bottom revision of the bill recently passed by the House, the final version instead retains the fundamental structure with a few adjustments here and there.Much like the House bill, the Senate version would repeal near all of the taxes funding the Affordable Care Act, cut back the Medicaid expansion, and discard the individual mandate on both the employer and employee sides. 

However while the House version based subsidies only on age, the Senate version takes income into account: those making up to 350 times the federal poverty level can qualify for subsidies (versus 400 percent today), the size of which would be pegged to a benchmark insurance plan each year. 

The Senate bill also makes deeper cuts to Medicaid than the House version, as it would be tied to the standard rate of inflation versus the medical inflation rate that's in the House bill. At the same time, however, these cuts will take longer than in the House bill: seven years. Further, it will gradually end the ACA Medicaid expansion over three years starting in 2021. 

Also, unlike the House bill, the Senate version doesn't let states ban insurers from charging higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions, though it does allow for state waivers on other aspects of the ACA like the House bill does. 

The bill's passage will be operating on razor thin margins, according to the Post: if more than two Republicans vote against it, the measure will fail. The bill itself will likely be changed more as Senate Republican leadership tries to win over the hold-outs. 



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