Senate Health Care Bill Includes Deep Medicaid Cuts

HEALTH CARE

 Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a draft of their legislation to revamp the government's role in the nation's health care system.

The bill, written largely in secret, includes big reductions to Medicaid, defunds Planned Parenthood, eliminates the Obamacare mandate requiring individuals buy insurance, and slashes taxes on the wealthy.

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Trump Urges Senate to Keep Working on Health Care Bill to Replace Obamacare

HEALTH CARE

SAUL LOEB / AFP - Getty Images

Republican Senators filed onto a bus Wednesday for a short trip to the White House for lunch where they heard President Donald Trump urge them to keep working to both repeal and replace Obamacare after their health care bill collapsed earlier this week.

"I'm ready to act," Trump said at the outset of the lunch, noting that he has his "pen in hand" to sign legislation. "For seven years you promised the American people that you would repeal Obamacare. People are hurting. Inaction is not an option and, frankly, I don't think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan, unless we can give our people great health care."

After he spent late Monday night and Tuesday endorsing a plan to just repeal Obamacare and then a plan to just let it fail on its own, Trump emphasized that he is supporting both a repeal and a replacement in the same bill.

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Insurers Fear Latest Chaos Over Health Care

HEALTH CARE

Health insurers expressed concern Tuesday over the uncertainty surrounding Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and President Donald Trump's most recent call to let Obamacare "fail."

"With open enrollment for 2018 only three months away, our members and all Americans need the certainty and security of knowing coverage will be available and affordable for them," said Justine Handelman, senior vice president for policy at Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of the nation’s largest insurers.

Insurers’ most immediate worry is the federal cost-sharing subsidies they’ve relied on to help make plans in the ACA’s exchanges more affordable. Trump has dubbed those funds "ransom money" and threatened to withhold them to hasten the collapse of Obamacare.

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NBC News/WSJ Poll: Just 12% in Key Trump Counties Back GOP Health Care Effort

HEALTH CARE

Just 12 percent of Americans living in the counties that fueled Donald Trump's win in the 2016 presidential election support the Republican Party's efforts on health care, according to results from the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of these "Trump counties."

Asked their views on the health care legislation passed by the House of Representatives in May and backed by President Trump, 12 percent of the respondents in these counties — consisting of Republicans, Democrats and independents — called the bill a good idea, while 41 percent said it was a bad idea. Forty-seven percent had no opinion or say they’re not sure.

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Trump Drops Key Campaign Promise to 'Repeal and Replace'

HEALTH CARE

In the wake of the latest health care bill failure, President Trump dropped a key campaign promise and announced his support for letting the American health care system collapse before trying to reform it again.

"I think we're probably in that position where we'll just let Obamacare fail. We're not gonna own it. I'm not gonna own it," he told reporters on Tuesday. "We'll let Obamacare fail and then Democrats are going to come to us."

This new promise comes after two years of promising to repeal and replace Obamacare with something "terrific," and hours after voicing his support for another promise-breaking proposition: a simple repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement, a proposition that would leave 18 million uninsured in the first year. By 2026, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated a simple repeal would double premiums for consumers buying insurance on their own while leaving 32 million uninsured.

“Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” Trump said on Twitter, though that plan quickly lost Republican support. 

Hours later, Trump tweeted that he had "always said" Obamacare should be allowed to fail first. He has previously said letting Obamacare fail and blaming Democrats for the consequences would be politically smarter, but it is far from one of his stalwart positions. 

To wit: Watch the president’s many promises to repeal — and replace — Obamacare during the campaign. 

The Senate Health Care Bill Would Break Just About All of Trump's Promises

HEALTH CARE

President Donald Trump said his health care would be better and cheaper than Obamacare.

But that's not how things are turning out.

Based on the president's previous statements, people would enjoy lower premiums and deductibles. A replacement would cover everybody, including those with pre-existing conditions. There would be no cuts to Medicaid.

Now, as Senate Republicans finalize their legislation while Trump advocates for its speedy passage, the question is: Does the bill keep the president’s promises?

Here's how Trump's vows on the campaign trail and after taking office stack up against the findings from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report.

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Medicaid Cuts Grow Even Deeper After 10 Years, New CBO Score Shows

HEALTH CARE

The Senate health care bill’s Medicaid cuts would grow even deeper after a decade, according to a new report Thursday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, leaving more people without coverage under the government program.

The new report complements the CBO’s main analysis of the Senate bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which found Medicaid would spend 26 percent less and cover 15 million fewer people in 2026 if the bill passed.

The Senate bill caps Medicaid spending and, starting in 2025, grows it at a rate of inflation that’s expected to be less generous than either current law or the House bill, which included major cuts as well.

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74 Percent. Your Health Care Premium Could Go Up That Much

HEALTH CARE

The Senate bill, backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. and President Donald Trump, encourages customers to buy insurance with higher deductibles, reduces subsidies that lower deductibles for low-income customers, allows insurers to charge older customers more, and provides more generous subsidies for young people than older people.

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Just About Every Major Medical Group Hates the GOP Health Care Plans

HEALTH CARE

Groups representing pediatricians, cancer specialists, heart doctors and family physicians all agree: Both the House and the Senate offerings for fixing health care in the U.S. would make things worse, not better.

Within hours of its release, groups representing medical professionals were denouncing the Senate version, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act or BCRA.

"The Senate draft health care bill is literally heartless," American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said.

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GOP Health Plan Doesn’t Address the Biggest Health Care Problems

HEALTH CARE

The new GOP health care bill does almost nothing to address some of the biggest health care issues troubling Americans, many experts agree.

With so much focus on health care by Congress, the White House and news media, Americans might be forgiven for thinking the health care system is about to be transformed. Every year a new report shows the U.S. health care system is a mess, with Americans spending far more for medical care than people in any other comparable country, and getting less to show for it.

Republicans who support the new bill, which passed the House of Representatives on May 4, say it will cut costs and help get government spending on health care under control. But neither the 2010 Affordable Care Act not the proposed partial replacement bill, the American Health Care Act, digs deeply into some of the biggest flaws in the U.S. medical system.

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House Narrowly Passes GOP Health Care Bill

HEALTH CARE 

By the slimmest of margins, the House of Representatives passed the Republican plan to replace Obamacare Thursday afternoon, sending the measure to a skeptical Senate where it is almost certain to change shape. Republicans passed the bill by a vote of 217 to 213, just one vote over the 216 needed.

The vote was a big win for House Speaker Paul Ryan, who was able to deliver on Republicans' seven-year long campaign promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act even though the bill doesn't constitute a complete repeal. And for President Donald Trump, this gives him his first legislative victory since taking office more than 100 days ago.

Following the vote, House Republicans were met by protesters chanting "shame" outside the Capitol as they boarded buses for a trip down Pennsylvania Avenue to participate in a celebratory appearance with Trump, who lauded the members.

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