Protesters Arrested Following Republican Health Care Bill

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Senate Republicans launched their plan for shriveling Barack Obama's health care law Thursday, edging a step closer to their dream of repeal with a bill that would slice and reshape Medicaid for the poor, relax rules on insurers and end tax increases on higher earners that have helped finance expanded coverage for millions.

D-N.Y., and Sen. "They should be, in our view, as the near-term risks would be abated if the subsidy and Medicaid provisions hold through Senate and House negotiations".

Release of the 142-page proposal ended the long wait for one of the most closely guarded bills in years.

Both bills would eliminate most of the taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Republicans' release of their health care proposal highlighted what is likely to be a key issue in the race for governor, especially if Congress and President Donald Trump sign off on legislation giving states more latitude to set their own approach. There are the limits on Medicaid funding, changes in subsidies that flow through the exchanges, the option for states to eliminate maternity and mental health care from the list of required insurance benefits and the opportunity for carriers to charge older people five times more than younger ones. It would also offer $2 billion in state grants to address the opioid epidemic.

Under special rules McConnell is using that will block Democrats from using a filibuster to kill the bill, the legislation can not include provisions that make policy changes that don't primarily affect the budget.

"Unimaginably, the Senate today took a bad House health care bill and made it much worse for the American people. Now we know why", Sanders said in a statement. "Because Obamacare is a direct attack on the middle class, and American families deserve better than its failing status quo".

"Republicans believe we have a responsibility to act - and we are".

You've talked about how the Affordable Care Act isn't flawless.

"We live in the wealthiest country on earth".

Those subsidies are expected to be linked to recipients' income in the Senate bill, a "major improvement" from a measure approved last month by the U.S. House of Representatives that tied them exclusively to age, Republican Senator Susan Collins of ME said. Interestingly, a gang of four relatively conservative Republican Senators, Rand Paul (KY), Mike Lee (UT), Ted Cruz (TX), and Ron Johnson (WI), at least initially decided that this Senate plan was not just right.

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"Susan Collins's popularity in ME would surge if she votes no, and Lisa Murkowski in Alaska is on the fence", Valliere wrote.

The bill is an attempt to strike a compromise between the Affordable Care Act and a measure passed by the GOP-controlled House in May.

Obama was more than skeptical.

"Simply put, if there's a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family-this bill will do you harm". He said "small tweaks" during the upcoming debate "cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation".

Heller faces perhaps the toughest reelection race next year of all the GOP senators who will be on the ballot, so it's not entirely surprising he came out against the bill, given how deeply unpopular the House version of the repeal legislation has shown to be. Although Trump lauded its passage in a Rose Garden ceremony, he called the House measure "mean" last week.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the bill would hurt children by scaling back Medicaid.

The progressive group's statement mirrors one made by Sanders earlier in the day in response to the release of the Senate's bill. They have expressed concerns over the bill's changes to the program, which provides low-income Americans with financial support to access health insurance. The American people don't want that.

Heller, meanwhile, was skeptical Friday that Senate leadership was going to be able to provide the concessions he would need to support the bill.

Ending Obama's expansion has caused major rifts among GOP senators. The program now gives states all the money needed to cover eligible recipients and procedures.

For the next two years, the Senate would also provide money that insurers use to help lower out-of-pocket costs for millions of lower income people. Instead, it entices people to voluntarily buy a policy by offering them tax credits based on age and income to help pay premiums. A Reuters/Ipsos poll this month found almost 60 percent of adults believed the House bill would make insurance costlier for low-income Americans and people with pre-existing conditions. But it then allows states to ask for waivers to opt out of that requirement. The Senate's insurance reform bill delays the Cadillac tax until 2026. "The insurance companies make all the money; all of this is predicated upon still propping up the insurance companies".

Information for this article was contributed by Alan Fram and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of The Associated Press; by Sean Sullivan, Juliet Eilperin, Kelsey Snell, Paige Winfield Cunningham, Elise Viebeck and Amy Goldstein of The Washington Post; and by Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan of The New York Times.

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