US Senate Releases Revised Health Care Bill in Attempt to Find Consensus
Friday, July 14, 2017 | Health Care
Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a revised health bill as a replacement to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that aims to find consensus between Republican lawmakers who want a full repeal of the ACA and those worried that steep cuts to Medicaid would deny coverage to many.
The Senate is expected to hold a vote on the proposed legislation next week.
Republican leaders were forced to delay a vote on the bill’s initial version 2 weeks ago due to lack of support, and introduced a number of changes in the new draft—notably a provision letting insurers offer less-comprehensive policies—that drew praise from some conservatives, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. No Democrats are expected to support the bill.
The new Senate GOP bill would still dismantle much of the ACA, setting up a new system of tax credits to help some people buy insurance and dramatically curbing federal spending on Medicaid. Unlike earlier versions, the bill unveiled Thursday would allow insurers to sell cheaper, less comprehensive plans. It also adds $45 billion to combat the opioid epidemic and retains two of the ACA’s taxes on high-income households.
The latest version of the bill would preserve a 0.9% payroll tax and a 3.8% tax on investment income. Both taxes apply only to individuals with incomes above $200,000 and married couples making over $250,000, according to the WSJ.
Republican leaders now have just a few days to unify their party behind the new bill. A key moment will come early next week, when the Congressional Budget Office releases its estimate of the bill’s impact on cost and coverage.
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