News

Senate GOP Health Bill Seeks To Hobble Obama Law (Full text of bill included)

Senate Republicans would cut Medicaid, end penalties for people not buying insurance and erase a raft of tax increases as part of their long-awaited plan to scuttle Barack Obama’s health care law.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

The Latest on Senate Republicans’ health care bill (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

Democrats are roundly criticizing the Republican plan to scrap the Obama health care law.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke on the Senate floor Thursday moments after the GOP’s 142-page discussion draft was posted online. Republicans had been briefed on the plan behind closed doors.

Schumer says, “We live in the wealthiest country on earth. Surely we can do better than what the Republican health care bill promises.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi assails the GOP bill as a tax break for wealthy Americans. The bill would eliminate the requirement that Americans buy insurance or face a tax penalty.

___

11:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is expressing hope that the Senate will pass a health care plan “with heart” following the release of a Republican plan to dismantle President Barack Obama’s health law.

Trump says at the start of a White House event on technology he is hopeful Congress will get something done on health care “with heart.”

The president spoke shortly after Senate Republicans released a 142-page draft of their bill to get rid of much of the Obamacare law.

The bill faces broad opposition from Democrats. But Trump says that Republicans would love to have Democratic support.

___

11:18 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is praising the Republican plan to scuttle the Obama health care law, arguing it’s the right alternative to a “failed” Obamacare.

Moments after the 142-page discussion draft was unveiled, McConnell spoke on the Senate floor, renewing his criticism of the seven-year-old law.

He outlined the GOP plan that would cut Medicaid, slash taxes and waive the requirement that Americans purchase health insurance.

Senate Republicans had been briefed on the plan earlier Thursday.

Emerging from the session, McConnell did not answer when asked if he has the votes to pass the GOP proposal. A vote would occur next week after budget analysts assess the package.

___

10:56 a.m.

Senate Republicans have released a 142-page draft of their bill to eliminate much of the Obama health care law.

The measure would cut and revamp Medicaid, the health care program for lower-income and disabled people.

It would repeal tax increases Obama’s law imposed on higher-income people and medical industry companies to pay for expanded coverage. And it would end the tax penalty Obama’s statute imposes on people who don’t buy insurance — in effect, ending the so-called individual mandate.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hoping to push the measure through the Senate next week. But its fate remains uncertain.

It faces uniform Democratic opposition. And at least a half-dozen Republicans — both conservatives and moderates — have complained about it.

___

10:20 a.m.

Senate Republicans are holding a private meeting to hear from leaders about their long-awaited plan for eliminating much of President Barack Obama’s health law.

Lobbyists and congressional aides say the Senate bill would cut Medicaid, end penalties for people not buying insurance and rescind tax increases that Obama imposed to help pay for his law’s expansion of coverage.

Republicans plan to make their plan public later Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell developed the bill behind closed doors. The measure represents his attempt to satisfy GOP moderates and conservatives who’ve complained about the measure.

McConnell hopes to push the measure through the Senate next week. But it remains unclear whether he will have enough votes.

___

3:50 a.m.

Senate Republican leaders are ready to release their plan for rolling back much of President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Congressional aides and lobbyists say it would cut Medicaid, end penalties for people not buying insurance and erase tax increases Obama imposed to help expand coverage.

The Senate’s Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, is unveiling the measure after weeks of closed-door meetings that angered Democrats and some Republicans.

It represents the Kentucky senator’s attempt to quell criticism by party moderates and conservatives and win the support he needs in a vote he hopes to hold next week.

The measure would drop the House’s waivers allowing states to let insurers boost premiums on some people with medical conditions.

The sources are describing the bill on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make the disclosures.

 

Read the full text of H.R. 1628, “American Health Care Act of 2017,” below:

Share