Arizona Medicaid agency says Senate health bill cost $7.1B

Danny Woods
June 24, 2017

Not really. Does the new bill have the "heart" that Trump demanded? No.

Meanwhile, the head of Yale's health policy unit said Senate Republicans have given themselves problems from the left and the right, when it comes to passing their revised healthcare bill.

This article first appeared June 22, 2017 on Kaiser Health News.

It is obvious to most Ohioans and Americans that the major goal of our Republican friends in Columbus and Washington, making the rich more comfortable.

The bill was created to be a budget reconciliation instead of new legislation and thus would need only a simple majority of Senate to pass the bill, as opposed to the customary 60-vote majority.

The Senate version makes only modest changes - and makes deep cuts to Medicaid, which 79 percent of those surveyed oppose. He said the changes he is seeking to the bill would go in the opposite direction of those sought by other current "no" votes - conservative hard-liners including Texas Sen.

McConnell, R-Ky., released the bill Thursday after weeks of closed-door meetings searching for middle ground between conservative senators seeking an aggressive repeal of Obama's statute and centrists warning about going too far.

Mr. McConnell is not fond of bringing bills to the floor that he does not think can pass. "These hospitals serve a largely older, poorer and sicker population than most hospitals, making them particularly vulnerable to changes made to Medicaid funding".

In Oregon, lawmakers this week passed a health care tax meant to fix a $1.4 billion, two-year budget deficit attributed largely to Medicaid expansion costs. "The bill would devastate the Medicaid program, our nation's health care safety net on which 69 million low-income Americans and people with disabilities - including 37 million children - rely". Under Obamacare, tax credits are primarily based on income, age and geography, benefitting lower- and moderate-income people who purchase insurance on the exchanges.

Shortly after the 142-page bill was distributed, more than a half-dozen GOP lawmakers signaled concerns or initial opposition.

More news: Protesters Arrested Following Republican Health Care Bill

Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, has opposed all Republican attempts to repeal and replace President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

He accepts that though a significant step, "ACA was not flawless, nor could it be the end of our efforts - and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it".

What is in the new healthcare bill?

"It's going to be very hard to get me to a yes", he said, noting that conservative Republican senators would likely be reluctant to add spending back to the measure. "We'll have to see".

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who faces a competitive re-election race in 2018, says he has "serious concerns about the bill's impact on the Nevadans who depend on Medicaid".

It halts federal funding to Planned Parenthood for one year, and stipulates that any health plan that covers abortions wouldn't qualify for federal subsidies. Though Trump lauded its passage in a Rose Garden ceremony, he called the House measure "mean" last week. While there's not yet a Congressional Budget Office score for the Senate bill, the House bill would end up with 23 million fewer people with insurance, including 12 million Medicaid recipients by 2026. Forcing senators from states where the Medicaid law was expanded to take that vote and have the bill fail could be costly.

The way that Medicaid is restructured under the Senate and House bill, states will likely not be able to front the Medicaid costs, and the program will likely shrink due to inadequate funds.

The Senate measure maintains much of the structure of a House bill passed in May but differs in several key ways.

Republicans who are supposed to represent us are making jobs almost impossible for those working in human services, law enforcement and health care.

Regina Garcia Cano reported from Las Vegas.

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