Senate Republicans unveil ‘discussion draft’ of health care bill

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Seven weeks after the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, Senate Republicans unveiled their version of the health care bill today.

Here's how the Senate bill differs from the one passed by the House.

Inside the Senate bill

• Funds two years of current Obamacare payments to insurers (which President Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull) to stabilize the insurance marketplace. • Delays cuts to Medicaid. • Eliminates Obamacare’s individual mandate and doesn’t include penalties for a lapse in coverage. • Allows children to stay on parents’ plans through the age of 26. • Doesn’t include the House bill language to waive essential health benefit coverage, but does give states the ability to opt out of other Obamacare rules.

Recapping the House bill

• Prevents women from using federal tax credits to buy plans that cover abortion and temporarily blocks Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds for one year. • Lets states impose work requirements for Medicaid. • Allows states to seek waivers from covering essential health benefits – including maternity care and emergency room trips. • Allows states to waive an Obamacare regulation that prevented insurers from charging sicker consumers more, which would effectively undermine pre-existing conditions protections. • Repeals Obamacare’s individual mandate but penalizes people who let their coverage lapse for 63 days. • Replaces Obamacare’s income-based tax credits with age-based tax credits that don’t vary with local insurance costs. • Adds $8 billion to high-risk pools for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

The bill’s release follows months of speculation and contentious debate. Senate Democrats have criticized their Republican counterparts for working on the bill behind closed doors.

Earlier this week, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., appearing on ABC News’ “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, noted that when crafting the Affordable Care Act, Republicans had a chance to offer changes.

“In the Health Committee, I think 160 Republican amendments were accepted into the bill,” he said. “It was debated for 25 straight days before it was voted on. It was scored well in advance. This is a sham.”

Going forward

The Congressional Budget Office, which provides nonpartisan, quantitative analyses to Congress, will now evaluate the bill. A CBO score could come as soon as Friday.

The CBO estimated that the version of the American Health Care Act passed by the House would leave 24 million more Americans uninsured by 2026 than under the Affordable Care Act. The office also estimated the bill would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion from 2017 to 2026.

ABC News’ Mary Bruce contributed to this report.

Original Article

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