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Another Republican says 'no' to healthcare bill

24 June 2017

The GOP holds a 52-48 advantage over Democrats in the Senate, with Vice President Pence standing ready to break ties in the GOP's favor.

Four conservative senators have voiced their opposition but say they're willing to talk: Ted Cruz of Texas; Mike Lee of Utah; Ron Johnson of Wisconsin; and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

They focus instead on the market for individual policies, which Obama's ACA sought to reform by providing subsidies, setting requirements for comprehensive coverage, and creating online markets where consumers could compare plans.

Republicans respond that the bill will be open to amendment on the floor and that health-care policy has been the subject of public debate for years now, obviating the need for legislative transparency.

And Susan Collins of ME restated her opposition to blocking federal money for Planned Parenthood.

The Republican bill aims to deliver on one of Trump's central campaign promises to "repeal and replace" the 2010 law that expanded coverage to millions of Americans.

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"I have deep concerns with details in the U.S. Senate's plan to fix America's health care system and the resources needed to help our most vulnerable, including those who are dealing with drug addiction, mental illness and chronic health problems and have nowhere else to turn", Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, said in a Twitter message. Though Trump lauded its passage in a Rose Garden ceremony, he called the House measure "mean" last week.

"Obamacare's" results have been mixed, with lower enrollment than expected, big losses for many insurers, and sharp premium increases. GOP senators were largely in the dark until the legislation was unveiled Thursday and were still getting briefed, without seeing copies of the bill, when it was posted publicly online. Under the Affordable Care Act, the credits are based on the cost of the second-lowest cost "silver" marketplace plan, which is supposed to cover about 70 percent of a household's medical costs.

Officials with one of northern Colorado's largest health care providers, UCHealth, released a statement expressing concern about the potential impact of the bill.

Also, unlike Obamacare, the Senate bill would provide more generous subsidies to enrollees in their 20s and 30s who qualify for aid.

McConnell has said he wants to have a vote on the proposed legislation next week, prior to Congress' July 4 recess.

And McConnell made the decision to release the bill this week and push toward a vote next week, ignoring pleas from some lawmakers for more time.

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At a time when we are seeing significant declines in the number of uninsured and inadequately insured in our country, the bills represent a giant step backward.

The bill would continue the Affordable Care Act's enhanced Medicaid expansion funding until 2021, and then phase it out over three years. The proposal would impose long-term federal spending cuts on the program.

AARP is already on record against the Senate bill, citing what it calls an "age tax" as well as cuts to Medicaid.

Efforts to shame Republicans for this attack on the poor, old and sick, who will face the brunt of the cuts, are unlikely to succeed. He's dealing with an unpopular piece of legislation that affects almost every American personally and a diverse conference that includes moderates and conservatives, both of whom have problems with the bill.

Health-care advocacy groups on Thursday decried the cuts to Medicaid.

Obama law: Private health insurance plans sold to people who receive federal subsidies can cover abortion. In addition, the proposed changes to Medicaid financing for people who were newly covered under Obamacare and those in the standard Medicaid program are dramatic. Certain structures could penalize states like Kansas that have kept their Medicaid costs lower, he said. The federal Department of Health and Human Services Department estimates 181,000 of those enrollees gained coverage through the expansion. "The bill would devastate the Medicaid program, our nation's health care safety net on which 69 million low-income Americans and people with disabilities - including 37 million children - rely".

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