The original AHCA as drafted by the House of Representatives was set to cut taxes, reduce Medicaid spending, and remove the requirement that all Americans have health insurance. It passed through the House, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had some new ideas to add before putting it up for a vote in the Senate. President Trump has expressed that he wants the new health care act, no matter what it is, to “have heart.” Has Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell done that? We may find out soon. Here’s what he’s proposing, titled the “Better Care Reconciliation Act Of 2017:”
Originally, the Senate discussed completely revamping the House bill, but most of the new bill remains quite similar. Far-right Mitch McConnell just took the AHCA cuts and increased them. For example, the AHCA was set to remove the mandate that Americans are required to buy insurance, but the Senate bill adds in that employers are no longer required to supply a health insurance plan.
Similar to Obamacare subsidies, the new bill creates a system of federal tax credits to help people purchase health insurance (but health plans that offer abortion services will not be eligible). It also gives states the ability to stop requiring maternity care, emergency services, mental health treatment, and other “essential” benefits. States would also lose any extra Medicaid funding. In fact, the whole Medicaid system would be placed on a budget instead of being need-based.
Much of the Senate plan is structured to save the government (not consumers and insurers) money. It would end all ACA taxes, grabbing most of its funding from the Medicaid cut.
McConnell wants to hold a vote next week, so the issue can be settled before the scheduled fourth of July Senate recess. The vote will largely depend on what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has to say about it (report expected by Monday). Read the CBO report on the House’s version of the bill here.
Democrats are not any happier with the Senate version of the AHCA.
You can read the full 142-page bill here.