After weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Senate Republicans released their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare on Thursday.
The bill was released without any public hearings, drafted by a small, secret, all-male panel of Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he aims to put the bill up for a vote next week before senators head home for the Fourth of July.
The bill takes 25 pages to get to perhaps its most significant effect: a massive tax cut, with most of the benefits going to the wealthiest Americans. Like the health care bill that passed the House last month, the Senate’s legislation ditches all of Obamacare’s taxes and pays for that move by slashing spending on Medicaid—both Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid and general Medicaid funding.
The bill puts a general cap on how much money the federal government will give states under Medicaid, ending the program’s open-ended promise to fund the health needs of poor people. In the long run, that will result in a massive reduction in Medicaid spending. The bill also grants states the option of adding a work requirement to their Medicaid programs.
The measure would also revoke federal funding from Planned Parenthood. Before the bill was released, it was unclear whether the Senate would adopt the House’s provision to repeal all federal Medicaid spending on the women’s health provider. Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, had indicated that cutting funds to Planned Parenthood might prevent them from voting for the bill.
The bill bans any subsidies for insurance plans that offer abortion coverage. That would go into effect immediately, potentially wreaking havoc on the markets in liberal states that currently offer such plans.
Read the bill here:
This is a developing story and will be updated.