Friday, 22 September, 2017

GOP senators make last ObamaCare repeal pitch

Dems accuse Trump of Obama Care enrollment sabotage Getty Images
Howard Terry | 15 September, 2017, 00:36

Louisiana's Senior U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is a co-author of the last ditch effort by Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. States like Nevada would feel the pain even sooner, as the bill would completely eliminate Obamacare's federal funding for the Medicaid expansion starting in 2020. "Every time that I think I can finally sleep at night, they come out with another awful bill - because my Affordable Care Act policy is what's keeping me alive".

The bill faces long odds: Even some of its GOP backers say it would be nearly impossible to get a massive rewrite of the health care system through the Senate within 17 days, or before the expiration of fast-track procedural powers Republicans hope to use to bypass the threat of a Democratic filibuster.

Our bill levels out an inequity in funding. While Congress could pass language defunding Planned Parenthood in the next fiscal year's tax-reform reconciliation bill, the Graham-Cassidy plan is the only realistic way to stop Obamacare's funding of elective abortion. States would have the ability to roll back protections for vulnerable populations - especially those living with HIV and hepatitis. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. and various Democrats to unveil a new single-payer bill that would cover all Americans under a more comprehensive version of Medicare.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has said he will oppose the bill because it retains too numerous Obamacare taxes that many conservatives want eliminated.

So far, the Republican-majority Congress has been unable to meet its longstanding promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare, despite one very close call in July.

As for the HELP committee's efforts, insurers are finalizing their rates and participation next month for 2018, meaning Congress would need to pass legislation nearly immediately to have an impact. The bill would also, for the first time in history, place a federal spending cap on Medicaid. Elizabeth Warren of MA, have already signed on to Mr. Sanders' bill.

Dr. Jack Ende, president of the American College of Physicians (ACP), said the proposal fails to meet ACP criteria to ensure that patient health is improved - not harmed - by changes to current law.

Still, some Democrats and progressive activists are nervous that the GOP's long quest to repeal Obamacare may have one last push left. Hardworking folks like my husband and I do what we need to do to make ends meet. Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs and a leading health-care expert, said that the bill looked like the "most coherent" GOP health-care plan considered this year.

But according to the Congressional Budget Office, several of the proposals in this bill would actually increase the federal deficit, including the proposed elimination of cost-sharing payments.

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