The 172-page legislation faces a do-or-die vote next week on which McConnell has no margin for error
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky, leaves the chamber after announcing the revised version of the Republican health care bill, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 13, 2017. photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite), photo: AP/J. Scott
13 of July 2017 12:53:10
WASHINGTON – Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell released his new but still-reeling health care bill Thursday, bidding for conservative support by letting insurers sell low-cost, skimpy policies and reaching for moderates with added billions to combat opioid abuse and help states rein in consumers' skyrocketing insurance costs.However, allowing insurers to offer bare-bones plans threatens to alienate moderates and perhaps other conservatives. And the measure retains cuts in Medicaid — the health insurance plan for the poor, disabled and nursing home patients — that moderate Republican senators have fought.
A summary of the bill said some stripped-down policies would cover three primary care visits per year and limit out-of-pocket costs, and said consumers could use federal tax credits to help pay for them.But the Cruz provision appeared in the legislative text in brackets, meaning specific language was still being composed. That could give McConnell, Cruz and other conservatives time to work out a provision with broader support.The retooled measure retains McConnell's plan to phase out the extra money 31 states have used to expand Medicaid under Obama's statute, and to tightly limit the overall program's future growth. Since its creation in 1965, the program has provided open-ended federal funds to help states pay the program's costs.The rewritten package would add $70 billion to the $112 billion McConnell originally sought that states could use to help insurers curb the growth of premiums and consumers' other out-of-pocket costs.It has an added $45 billion for states to combat the misuse of drugs like opioids. That's a boost over the $2 billion in the initial bill and an addition demanded by okRepublicans from states in the Midwest and Northeast that have been ravaged by the drugs.To help pay for the added spending, the measure would retain three tax increases Obama's law slapped on higher- earning people to help finance his law's expansion of coverage. Under the current statute, families earning more than $250,000 annually got a 3.8 percent boost on their investment income tax and a 0.9 percent increase in their payroll tax. Obama also imposed a new tax on the salaries of high-paid insurance executives.The measure would eliminate other tax boosts Obama levied on insurers, pharmaceutical producers and other health industry companies.
Just FYI - The Cruz-Lee Amendment has not been added to BCRA. Something based on it has, but I have not seen it or agreed to it. 1/2— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) July 13, 2017