Health care experts from across the political spectrum have said that the Republican health care plan was unworkable and suffered from fatal flaws and could lead to Americans dropping out of the health care market.
By giving insurance companies carte blanche to decide what to cover and what to exclude, critical protections for Americans are gutted by the Senate Republican health care bill. As it stands, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mike Lee of Utah have said in a joint statement that they will not support the current bill. President Donald Trump made Obamacare repeal a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign and celebrated the House-passed bill. But even with control of both chambers of Congress and the White House since January, the party has struggled to make good on its bold campaign promises to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who faces a competitive re-election race in 2018, says he has "serious concerns about the bill's impact on the Nevadans who depend on Medicaid".
Lawmakers will be "looking to see if there are things that we can do to refine it, and make it more acceptable to more members in our conference, to get to 50", Senator John Thune said.
"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.
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"If there's a chance you might get sick, get old or start a family, this bill will do you harm", he wrote.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insists he wants a vote before the Fourth of July recess, leaving GOP leaders one week to win over more votes. The additional funds would continue through 2020, and be gradually reduced until they are entirely eliminated in 2024. But Medicaid has also been eating up an ever-larger share of federal spending, so the Republican plan puts a lid on that by rolling back the Obama-era expansion of the program and then granting states a set amount of money for each person enrolled. Currently, funding is based on recipients' health care needs, so states with sicker populations, like ME, would be especially hard hit. That focuses financial assistance on people with lower incomes.
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.
Unlike the House, the Senate is awaiting an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office before taking action. It allows parents keep their kids on their policies until they turn 26, and requires insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions.
The "discussion draft" will also allow small business employers to receive credit for purchasing a health plan and providing it to their employees.
It would largely retain the subsidies Obama provided to help millions buy insurance, which are pegged mostly to people's incomes and the premiums they pay.