Senate Rejects Scaled Down Obamacare Repeal
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Overnight Thursday, GOP Senators failed to repeal parts of Obamacare (ACA) - a cynical scheme to get something passed, conference with House leaders to agree on weakening ACA, a step toward repealing and replacing it.
The measure was defeated by a 51 - 49 margin. Provisions of so-called "skinny" legislation included:
Repealing the individual and employer mandates
Suspending Obamacare's tax on medical devices for three years
Defunding Planned Parenthood for a year
No longer requiring healthcare plans to include maternity care, prescription drugs and other minimum benefits
Expanding tax-sheltered health savings accounts, largely benefitting high-net-worth households
Repealing ACA mandated funding for public health programs
Increasing funding for community health centers
According to CBO scoring, skinny legislation would leave an additional 15 million Americans uninsured by next year. Insurance premiums would rise substantially.
The federal deficit would decrease by around $179 billion over the next 10 years.
In response to Thursday's defeat, Trump tweeted: "3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!"
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed frustration, saying "I regret that our efforts were simply not enough this time. This is clearly a disappointing moment. Now it's time to move on."
He called his "skinny" legislation the Health Care Freedom Act - a scheme to negotiate with House leadership for a congressional measure able to get enough votes in both houses to pass and send to Trump for his signature.
America's Health Insurance Plans industry lobby group wrote Senate leaders on Thursday, saying ending ACA's requirement for Americans to buy insurance would produce "higher premiums, fewer choices for consumers and fewer people covered next year."
It's unclear what's next. House legislation was revived and narrowly passed after initially collapsing.
Given Republicans rage to repeal and replace Obamacare, they're unlikely to turn a page and move on.
The next chapter in their scheme to deny Americans the type of healthcare everyone deserves remains to be revealed.
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