Senate GOP Health Care Bill Needs "A Little Negotiation"

Question remains whether Democrats read it before criticizing

Richard Root
June 23, 2017 - 6:37 am
Senator Charles Schumer

democrats.senate.gov

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Washington, D.C. (WBEN) - U.S. Senate Republican's draft health care reform bill was released with mixed reaction nationwide. Democrats excoriated it. The media treated it with disdain. Even some Republicans want to distance themselves from it.

On the floor of the Senate, and then in a press conference, Democrats took to bashing the Senate's proposal.  How much of it they read before criticizing it remains a question.

During a press conference, N.Y. Senator Chuck Schumer repeatedly said the proposal favors wealthy people, while harming the poor.  Comparing it to the House proposal, he called it "meaner", in reference to a comment President Trump made about the House proposal.

"Somewhere in America, President Trump, there's a father," Schumer started, "who is eaten up inside, watching his son struggle with an opioid addiction. Who knows in his heart that his son would be able to go on and live a healthy and fulfilling life if he can only afford treatment to get him out from under the devastating addiction."

Senator Schumer was clearly ill-advised as the Senate's proposal includes section 201, titled "SUPPORT  FOR  STATE  RESPONSE  TO  OPIOID  CRISIS."

This section provides $2 billion for grants specifically for substance abuse treatment.  There are no specific provisions or repeals otherwise targeted at substance abuse.

Here's a summary of what the proposal does: the proposal repeals ten specific health-care related taxes, repeals the limitation on contributions to medical spending accounts, repeals the individual mandate, and repeals the employer mandate.

It expands tax free spending accounts, preserves access to care for pre-existing conditions, and children can stay on their parent's coverage until the age of 26.

Conservatives say the proposal does not go far enough in repealing Obamacare, and misses opportunities to reverse the damage Obamacare has already done to health care in the USA.

One criticism involves not providing enough incentive to states for them to provide continuous coverage.  Another is that it stops short of serious Medicaid reform.

Four GOP senators have already publicly stated they can not support it as is. Those four are Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and Mike Lee of Utah.

They Tweeted their reasons why:

President Trump said yesterday “a little negotiation, but it’s going to be very good."

So, it's clear the Senate proposal yesterday will not be the final bill.  There are differences with the House version that are distinct, like a few House provisions included to bridge a gap between Conservative and Moderate Republicans.

One part of the House bill that made it into the Senate's proposal is the Faso-Collins Medicaid provision. That would end the mandate in New York State that counties pay for Medicaid costs. 

You can read the entire Senate proposal HERE.

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