Before leaving town for the July 4 recess, the GOP-controlled US Senate is expected to vote on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare” — and last week Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky put the proposal on the fast track.
The measure, which could be brought up for a vote at any time without a single public hearing, is controversially being written in secret, so details are scarce. But there have been reports that lawmakers are discussing phasing out the ACA’s Medicaid expansion over seven years rather than the two-year schedule set out in the American Health Care Act, the deeply unpopular Obamacare repeal bill the House passed last month. There have also reportedly been discussions among senators about a provision preventing insurance companies from charging higher premiums for people with pre-existing conditions, which the House measure did not include, and about preserving some Obamacare taxes to delay funding cuts.
The House passed its bill before getting an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which eventually concluded that the plan would result in 23 million fewer Americans having health insurance by 2026. The House plan would also cut Medicaid by $800 billion to provide tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations, and it would defund Planned Parenthood. President Trump reportedly called the House bill “mean” and urged Republican senators to craft a more generous version.
In addition, the CBO found that the House plan would dramatically raise average premiums, with older Americans expected to be most severely affected. Nationwide, premiums would be expected to rise by $1,130 per year, according to an analysis released last week by the Center for American Progress. The …read more