I can not support a bill that's going to result in tens of millions of people losing their health insurance and I can not support a bill that is going to make such deep cuts in Medicaid that's going to ship billions of dollars of costs to our state governments, to those who have insurance and to health care providers, such as rural hospitals, which would be faced with a great deal of uncompensated care.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the bill at a closed-door session with party faithful. President Donald Trump made Obamacare repeal a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign and celebrated the House-passed bill. As the Senate released its version of health care reform, many people across the region stood outside the offices of Senator Charles Schumer to voice their displeasure.
McConnell hopes to call a vote on the measure next week, all but daring Republican holdouts to oppose it and prolong what has already been a politically painful process to fulfil their promise to do away with Obamacare.
"We've been in the backseat of Thelma and Louise's convertible for quite a while, and we're getting pretty close to the canyon".
"Obviously, we need to get 50 plus one", said Republican Texas Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas.
Some of the Senate bill's provisions could be political land mines, with individual senators' reactions to it crucial to determining whether or not the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, survives a Republican attack that has been under way since its passage in 2010.
Based on comments from senators leading up to the release of the bill, it may not match that "heart" standard.
But Caroline Pearson, a senior vice president at the consulting firm Avalere Health, says the bill bases its tax credits on lower-quality insurance."If you're paying a similar percentage of income, you're getting a less generous product under this new plan", she says. When the House bill was first under debate earlier this year, state officials warned that a Medicaid expansion rollback could leave as many as 700,000 Pennsylvanians without coverage.
The Senate health care plan eliminates the individual mandate forcing people to buy health insurance as well as some ACA taxes.
"It makes the cost of single-payer more and it makes the cost of the current system more", said Robert Kaestner, professor of public policy and economics at UC Riverside. Some from states that have expanded have battled to delay the phase-out, while conservative Republicans have sought to halt the funds quickly. A capital gains tax cut for the affluent would be retroactive for this year. Murkowski promised in her speech to the Alaska Legislature this year that she wouldn't vote to repeal the expansion so long as Alaska leaders want to keep it.
"I am pleased that we were able to arrive at a draft that incorporates inputs from so many different members who represent so many different constituents who are facing so many different challenges", McConnell said after unveiling the bill. Under the Senate bill, that person would get no subsidy, though people earning less than about $44,530 would still be eligible. Democrats countered that the bill is a giveaway to the rich at the expense of middle- and low-income families who will lose health insurance.
"We agreed on the need to free Americans from Obamacare's mandates".
But in a almost 1,000-word letter, former United States president Barack Obama appeared to decisively break his silence on the issue of American health care - a bedrock of his presidency - to slam the proposal as "fundamental meanness" that is "tough to fathom". "First, the ACA was meant to provide coverage that offers viable protection against some of the most basic health care costs Americans experience".
The bill would bar using tax credits to buy coverage that includes abortions.
"The Medicaid cuts are even more draconian that the House bill was, though they take effect more gradually than the House bill did", Pearson says. Health insurers also traded broadly higher, with large players Aetna (AET.N) and UnitedHealth Group (UNH.N) each up more than 1 percent.
But despite the heavy words, Senator McConnell must navigate a narrow route in pushing forward the bill in which defections by just three of the 52 Republican senators would doom the legislation.