John Cornyn Says The GOP Health Care Bill Is A Compromise

J. Scott Applewhite
J. Scott Applewhite
Author

30 June, 2017

Senators looking to repeal and replace Obamacare were already facing a breakneck timetable, mounting public disapproval, opposition from Democrats, and a growing number of Republican holdouts.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is insisting on a vote this week before lawmakers leave town for the July 4th recess.

More changes could be made to the legislation in the next few days, as Senate leadership presses ahead for a vote by the end of the week. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), want deeper cuts in federal spending - the opposite of the moderates who are seeking preservation of federal Medicaid expansion.

"The House bill was extremely problematic in how it thought about markets", said Amanda Starc, associate professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

The Congressional Budget Office releases its assessment of the latest GOP plan to repeal Obmacare; claiming there will be 22 million more uninsured Americans by 2026. The Senate bill also would lower premiums on the exchanges by 20 percent over 10 years compared to current law, but the health care plans available would cover less, most likely leading to higher out-of-pocket costs than under current law.

Because it forced people to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, Obamacare provided tax subsidies to help people - up to a certain income level - pay for it. Without the mandate, insurance pools will have fewer healthy, younger individuals in their systems.

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The American Medical Association has also voiced its concerns over the bill, arguing: "We believe that Congress should be working to increase the number of Americans with access to quality, affordable health insurance instead of pursuing policies that have the opposite effect".

About half the U.S. population lives in states that would seek waivers from the Obamacare requirement that health plans cover certain essential health benefits, CBO estimated.

They'll go up, and especially so for older people. Everyone knows it. Will a single Republican lead in that direction? And the Senate would still let states apply for waivers to reduce what kinds of plans insurers offer - things like maternity care and treatment for substance abuse and mental illness.

This might not mean much to most Americans who aren't on Medicaid and aren't high-income earners. And the $2 billion allocated for state grants toward addiction services is woefully inadequate to address a national opioid epidemic.

Kathy Waligora, a director with EverThrive Illinois, said she's horrified by the Republican plans in both the House and Senate, because they would allow states to petition to get out of ACA requirements to cover maternal care, children's dental care, and prescription medication.


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