Senate GOP health bill: Cut Medicaid, end no-coverage fines

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell R-Ky. joined by from left Sen. John Barrasso R-Wyo. Sen. John Thune R-S.D. and Majority Whip John Cornyn R-Texas speaks following a closed-door strategy session at the Capitol in Washington Tuesday June

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell R-Ky. joined by from left Sen. John Barrasso R-Wyo. Sen. John Thune R-S.D. and Majority Whip John Cornyn R-Texas speaks following a closed-door strategy session at the Capitol in Washington Tuesday June

WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans would cut Medicaid, end penalties for people not buying insurance and erase a raft of tax increases as part of their long-awaited plan to scuttle President Barack Obama's health care law, congressional aides and lobbyists say.

The healthcare bill will be released to the Republican Senate Conference on Thursday morning and posted online, senators said. If the Senate passes its version, the House and Senate would have to settle on compromise legislation before it can be signed by Trump.

"While we are pleased that some steps have been taken to address the long term challenges all health plans serving the individual market are facing, the individual market remains volatile", Anthem said in a statement.

McConnell may have a tough job convincing enough Republican senators that the Senate bill improves on the House version.

At the White House, Trump spoke of a bill "with heart". Nevada's Dean Heller also said he has "serious concerns" and wants to be confer with his state's governor.

Also, as in the House bill, it would defund Planned Parenthood for one year. "They can choose to keep standing by as their failing law continues to collapse and hurt more Americans, but I hope they will join us instead to bring relief to the families who have struggled under Obamacare for far too long".

Nonetheless, it signals an approach that largely sticks to the House Republicans' legislation-which the CBO said would result in 23 million fewer people with health coverage-that short changes the government assistance in health coverage, particularly for lower income people, and passes onto the states the decisions on how to make up for the shortfall.

States could not get exemptions to Obama's prohibition against charging higher premiums for some people with pre-existing medical conditions, but the subsidies would be lower, making coverage less affordable, Pearson said. Democrats mocked Republicans in a video on Twitter Wednesday by signing R.S.V.P. cards to the GOP's "secret meeting" with question marks written after the date and location. Rob Portman of OH and Susan Collins of ME as well as conservatives like Sens.

Ending Obama's expansion has caused major rifts among GOP senators. Without this critical funding, our state legislators will be left with hard choices that will affect us all, such as raising taxes, cutting other vital parts of our state budget, like funding for public education, or - more likely - severely cutting back on the services Medicaid covers, limiting enrollment or cutting provider payments to make up for this shortfall.

Sens. Cory Booker, Chris Murphy and Brian Schatz hosted a three-part Facebook Live "field trip" to the Congressional Budget Office.

The bill seeks to allow states to loosen some of the ACA's insurer mandates, such as the Essential Health Benefits, which mandate the 10 broad coverage areas insurers must offer.

The funds are paid to insurers to defray premium costs for low income members.

Those subsidies are expected to be linked to recipients' income, a "major improvement" from a healthcare overhaul bill passed in the House of Representatives that tied them exclusively to age, Republican senator Susan Collins said on Wednesday. And the employee mandate under Obamacare requires all businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to provide health insurance to at least 95 percent of their full-time employees and dependents up to age 26, or pay a fee.

The bill would also bar using tax credits to buy coverage that includes abortions. Like the House bill, the Senate plan would repeal or delay those tax boosts.

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