GOP Senate Bill Cuts Back Medicaid, Protects Pre-Existing Conditions

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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) — Senate Republicans have unveiled their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The 142-page bill eliminates the individual mandate forcing people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty and removes taxes put in place under the Affordable Care Act.

“Because Obamacare is a direct attack on the middle-class and Americans deserve better than the failing status quo,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

The measure provides tax credits based on income, age and geography, and aims to help lower income Americans afford insurance. It differs from the House bill, which tied tax credits to just age.

The Senate bill also provides for expanded tax-free Health Savings Accounts and eliminates federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Read the bill here

The plan won’t cut Medicaid as quickly as the House-passed version. Medicaid would begin to be phased out in 2021, with gradual reductions until 2024 in the amount of federal Obamacare funds that have financed the entitlement program’s expansion.

The GOP called the bill a “discussion draft” because they can still make changes to it in order to get the votes needed to pass.

“Obviously we need to get 50 plus one,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

Some moderates oppose the Medicaid cuts, while conservatives oppose the subsidies which help people purchase insurance.

“Ninety-nine percent of the Obamacare subsidies remained in the House bill, and they’ve been adding to them,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Senate Majority Leader McConnell said he wants to vote on the bill before the July 4th holiday. Though, he won’t get any support from the Democrats, who have been shut out of the process.

“This is a bill designed to strip away health care benefits and protections from Americans who need it most, in order to give a tax break to the folks who need it least,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “This bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, only this wolf has sharper teeth than the House bill.”

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office still needs to release its score showing how much the plan will cost and what kind of impact it will have. Republican leaders say the CBO score could come as early as tomorrow, but Monday is more likely.

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