The Senate plan negotiated in secret by Republican leaders and released Thursday would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate, extensively cut Medicaid and reduce subsidies for low-income patients.
The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), as the Senate bill is known, retains the structure of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which the U.S. House passed in May. Now Republicans seek to reach a compromise between the two bills and send it to President Donald Trump for his signature, thereby preserving their campaign pledges to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.
Senate Republicans are aiming to bring the bill to a vote before the July 4 recess, a timeline causing concern among Democratic colleagues and some in the GOP, as well.
Reaction to the bill has been mixed, winning support from those within the administration, but facing criticism from the healthcare community. In addition, Republican Senate leaders released revisions to the bill on Monday in an attempt to shore up support from on-the-fence GOP Senators.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma applauded the Senate for making progress “fixing the crisis in healthcare that has resulted from Obamacare.
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“Skyrocketing premiums, rising costs and fewer choices have caused too many Americans to drop their insurance coverage,” Verma said in a statement. “The Senate proposal is putting patients first and in charge of their healthcare decisions, bringing down the cost of coverage and expanding choices.”
But some health policy experts did not share that perspective.
“In broad strokes, the Senate bill is just like the House: Big tax cuts, big cut in federal health spending, big increase in the uninsured,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, in a post on Twitter.