McConnell's plan hadn't even been released to the public Thursday when two of his Republican Senate colleagues - Lindsey Graham of SC and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana - unveiled an alternative plan they'd been working on with former Pennsylvania Sen.
In addition, Sens. Lindsey Graham of SC and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana introduced an amendment that would shift much of current federal funding for Obamacare insurance and future funding directly to states. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) could bring them back into the fold.
"Still deep cuts to Medicaid in the Senate bill", she noted. It's hard to see how he comes up with a compromise that satisfies enough members of his conference, even with the promise of $45 billion in funding to help fight the opioid crisis in states where the proposed cuts to Medicaid could dramatically aggravate the crisis. Heather Carter, a Republican from Cave Creek, said cutting Medicaid threatens 400,000 people who have gained insurance through the Affordable Care Act's coverage expansion and also the state's health care system as a whole.
"South Carolina, on the other hand, would likely go in a different direction and use the federal funding to make private health care more affordable and available".
The new bill, which now lacks the votes to pass but still clarifies Republican leadership's fucked up priorities, also lets insurers deny coverage and charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions, thanks to a new amendment by Ted Cruz.
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The legislation will retain two ACA (also known as Obamacare) taxes on wealthy Americans, including a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for people with an annual income over $200,000, and a 0.9 percent surtax on Medicaid.
Insurers would have to sell at least onecomprehensive plan that complies with all the Obamacare-era regulations. Walking that tightrope means appealing to party conservatives without alienating moderates. "It will empower the states", Graham said. "The aide said it was included to ensure that the bill hewed to the chamber's strict reconciliation rules that limit the policies this health bill can include".
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said including the Cruz proposal would not be enough to get his support. That revenue - approximately $500 billion - would be sent to states through block grants, something Graham has long advocated, to offer their own insurance plans.
Said Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: "This bill would leave patients and those with pre-existing conditions paying more for less coverage".
That procedural vote on the bill is expected by the end of next week.