Senate GOP's reworked health bill includes amendment for lower-premium plans

Cheryl Sanders
July 14, 2017

Senator Graham of SC said it would allow governors to decide whether their states should keep the Affordable Care Act or not.

On the more moderate GOP side, Republican Sen.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham scooped Senate Republican leaders Thursday, unveiling his own plan for health-care reform before GOP leaders had a chance to unveil their revised proposal to repeal Obamacare. Ted Cruz's idea for allowing insurers meeting Obamacare standards to also offer plans being described as "skimpy" or "bare bones" made it into the new draft.

While some have touted the Senate bill as being better than Obamacare, Paul said he doesn't think that's the case, as the "fundamental flaw", remains that people don't have to buy insurance before they get sick.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office hasn't yet analyzed the new bill. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has repeatedly called for a more comprehensive repeal of Obamacare.

Changes to the Senate healthcare bill, dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BRCA), include boosting funds to help curb America's opioid epidemic but also retained one of the more debate portions of the bill - continued slashing of funds dedicated to Medicaid. It's hard to see how he comes up with a compromise that satisfies enough members of his conference, even with the promise of $45 billion in funding to help fight the opioid crisis in states where the proposed cuts to Medicaid could dramatically aggravate the crisis.

But the plan would still decimate Medicaid, knocking an estimated 15 million people off the rolls.

The new bill, which now lacks the votes to pass but still clarifies Republican leadership's fucked up priorities, also lets insurers deny coverage and charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions, thanks to a new amendment by Ted Cruz.

"I offer insurance to all of them", he said.

"The new Republican Trumpcare bill is every bit as mean as the old one", said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY. Susan Collins of ME and Rand Paul of Kentucky already said they do not support the latest proposal. To do so, he needs 50 votes. That is why the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network said the bill "would significantly weaken the ability of millions of cancer patients, survivors and those at risk for the disease to find and afford adequate, meaningful health care coverage".

On Wednesday, he said there are some changes that would "bring me along", including the consumer freedom option and allowing people to use pretax dollars to pay their premiums using a health savings account.

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