*Senate Republican leaders on Thursday finally dragged from behind closed doors their long-secret plan to repeal Obamacare, giving GOP senators and the public a first look at the bill that would overhaul the nation’s health care system.
Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has already called the legislation “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and “even worse” than the House bill during a speech on the Senate floor.
The 142-page bill, which was posted online at about 10:50 a.m. EST, gives power to the states to eliminate essential health care benefits that were mandatory under Obamacare, including coverage of maternity care, mammograms and pre-existing conditions.
The Senate bill would also eliminate virtually all the tax increases imposed by Obama’s Affordable Care Act to pay for itself, in effect handing a broad tax cut to the affluent, paid for by billions of dollars cut from Medicaid, a health care program that serves one in five Americans, not only the poor but two-thirds of those in nursing homes.
Obamacare’s premium subsidies structure would be maintained under the Senate bill, but the eligibility criteria would be tightened starting in 2020. Fewer middle class folks would get help because only those earning up to 350% of the poverty level would qualify, rather than the 400% threshold contained in Obamacare.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing for a vote as early as next Thursday, ahead of Congress’ July 4 recess, according to Politico. Since Democrats are unified in their opposition, Republicans are planning to use a fast-track process that can avoid filibusters.
GOP leaders need the support of at least 50 of the chamber’s 52 Republican senators to pass the bill, and several this week said they’re withholding their support until they see final legislation.
It won’t immediately be clear if McConnell has the votes until sometime next week, after a Congressional Budget Office analysis illustrates how many fewer Americans are likely to be insured by the bill and answers the crucial political question of whether premiums would be reduced.
Read the GOP Senate’s entire Trumpcare bill here.
Protests against the bill are already underway:
Huge protest inside and outside of Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mcconnell’s office happening right now. pic.twitter.com/Iu9wet6cXx
— Mariam Khan (@MKhan47) June 22, 2017