Insurance groups tear into Cruz amendment to health care bill as 'unworkable'

18 July, 2017, 02:26 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • McCain to miss week in DC after having blood clot removed

Senator Cruz understands something that few in the Republican establishment seem to grasp - if they don't deliver lower health insurance premiums to the working families that elected Donald Trump President forget increasing their majority, they are going to be out on their ears. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell increased that number to $45 billion, but Biden said he is "missing the point".

But Democrats, who are powerless to stop the bill unless more Republicans defect, are gleefully seizing on the opportunity the delay provides to hammer their GOP colleagues for not holding a single public hearing on the massive legislation. The objective of the amendment is to give people who don't need or want coverage for things like maternity care or mental health the option to buy a cheaper, bare-bones plan.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would cut Medicaid by almost $800 billion by 2026, and would cut Medicaid 35 percent come 2036. Paul contends the bill does not do enough to repeal ACA regulations. With the Democrats solidly opposed to the legislation, the Republicans can only pass the bill if all their other members back it and if Republican Vice President casts his tie-breaking vote in favour.

Mr McCain's absence cast doubt on whether the Senate would be able to pass legislation to dismantle and replace the Affordable Care Act, Democratic former President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement, commonly known as Obamacare. Two, Sens. Susan Collins of ME and Rand Paul of Kentucky, already have announced they're voting against allowing the bill to be debated. The new package added language letting insurers sell discount-priced policies with minimal coverage aimed at winning over conservatives, and revised funding formulas that would mean federal money for states including Louisiana and Alaska - home to four GOP senators who are uncommitted on the measure.

But two major health insurance groups, America's Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, called on McConnell to drop the Cruz proposal, saying it would undermine protections for pre-existing medical conditions, raise insurance premiums and destabilise the individual insurance market. All for tax breaks for the wealthy. But it kept the core of the earlier bill, including ending the expansion of Medicaid that was instrumental in enabling Obamacare to expand coverage to 20 million people, and restructuring that social safety-net program.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) talks with reporters after leaving a meeting of Republican senators where a new version of their healthcare bill was scheduled to be released at the U.S. Capitol on July 13, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

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