Senate Issues Revised Version of ACA Repeal-and-Replace Bill

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Among the many questions that come to mind is why conservatives like Sen.

The good stuff, such as it is, involves some new money for the opioid crisis, some (but not almost enough) money for patients at especially high risk, and some additional aid for insurers - you know, the same thing Republicans denounced as outrageous corporate welfare when Democrats did it.

The bill also seeks to win the support of senators from OH and West Virginia by putting in more money for opioid addiction treatment, and boosting state subsidies for Florida, Louisiana and other red states.

Some Republicans remain optimistic - and Democrats fearful - that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can pull off the negotiating tricks necessary, but he still faces an uphill fight in winning the votes to pass the Better Care Reconciliation Act by his tentative deadline of Friday.

That changed Friday, just in time for a weekend when a handful of holdout Republicans have said they will study the bill and consider how to vote on it. But one thing that hasn't been touched? The current bill before the Senate radically slashes Medicaid funding.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, urged passage of the bill on the Senate floor, adding: "I have to think that, at the end of the day, if we fail to take action to fulfill the promises (repeal and replace Obamacare) we've all made, we'll have to answer to the American people for the missed opportunity and the chaos that will nearly certainly follow".

The House has already passed a new health care plan, although that measure won't pass the Senate as approved in the House.

"It is simply unworkable in any form and would undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions, increase premiums and lead to widespread terminations of coverage for people now enrolled in the individual market", the letter reads.

Grossi points out that one of the changes would create a two-tiered system by allowing insurers to offer policies that do not meet the Affordable Care Act requirement for comprehensive coverage of medical services.

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Critics say the measure would encourage healthy people to buy the skimpy, low-priced plans, leaving sicker consumers who need more comprehensive coverage confronting unaffordable costs. That complicated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's task of preventing even a single additional GOP senator from rejecting the legislation, which would kill it.

The two insurance groups said premiums would "skyrocket" for people with preexisting conditions, especially for middle-income families who did not qualify for the bill's tax credit.

LeaMond also decried the bill's cuts to Medicaid, saying they "would leave millions of Americans, including 17.4 million poor seniors and people with disabilities, at risk of losing the care they need and their ability to live independently in their homes and communities".

According to an analysis by the BlueCross BlueShield Association, major federal consumer protections would not be required for new plans permitted by the Cruz amendment.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "About half of all people turning 65 today will need daily help as they age, either at home or in nursing homes". Ever since Cruz began discussing his proposal, and especially since it became apparent that Senate GOP leaders meant to add it to their bill, a chorus of independent experts, industry officials and trade groups has criticized it and warned of its potential effects.

Moderate Republicans had been hoping to see a reduction in Medicaid cuts in the revised version.

CT governor Dannel Malloy, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, said the mood was "tense" and "there are a lot of Republican governors who apparently have a neck problem, because they were all looking down". Wisconsin's Republican governor Scott Walker said he talked with Pence but declined to say if he supports the bill.

Cassidy, Hoeven, Portman, Capito, and Heller said that their votes will depend on the analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, which dealt a blow last month to the Senate legislation when it projected that 22 million people would be without health insurance in 2026.

The office estimated that McConnell's initial bill would have caused 22m additional people to be uninsured.

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