Thirteen senators have labored mightily and brough forth a mouse. The Senate version of Obamacare repeal dropped today, and it’s pretty much the same as the House version:
- It’s a huge tax cut for the rich.
- It slashes Medicaid for the poor.
- It allows states to cut back on essential benefits.
- It abolishes the individual mandate.
Unlike the House bill, it keeps Obamacare’s income-based subsidies, which makes it a little more friendly to the working poor. However, it also cuts back on those subsidies.
I’ll have more details later as they become available. But the bottom line is pretty simple: it cuts a trillion dollars in taxes on the rich, which means it also cuts a trillion dollars in spending on the poor and working class. That’s simple arithmetic. As a result, it’s going to take health insurance away from a lot of people. It might be 23 million, like the House bill, or it might be slightly more or slightly less. The CBO will tell us in a few days. But whatever the answer, this is pretty much the same horrific bill that the House has already passed.
One other note: I don’t know yet how it handles pre-existing conditions. Thanks to reconciliation rules, I don’t think it can change them much. More on this later.
Watch Elizabeth Warren tear into her Republican colleagues in the Senate.