While the country has been consumed by almost daily revelations about Trump and Russia, the Senate has quietly begun work on their version of the AHCA, the healthcare bill we like to call “Trumpdontcare.”
13 White Guys Rewrite the House Bill to pass muster in the Senate
Mitch McConnell started the process in the Senate by naming 13 senators, all white men, mostly older, to begin from scratch with their own version of an ACA Repeal and Replace.
The result couldn’t be worse than the House version (see What’s in the Health care bill that passed the House). But it will hard to craft a bill that will be much better. It must go back to the House for reconciliation, and ultimately satisfy a sizable majority of Republicans in both houses.
On Wednesday June 7th, McConnell invoked Senate Rule 14 which allows a bill to bypass all committee consideration and be brought to the Senate floor for a vote. No hearings, no debates, and no amendments which improves the chance for a vote before the Congressional August recess.
Democrats are outraged that a bill affecting 1/6th of our economy will come to the floor with no hearings.
Although the ACA passed with only Democratic votes, it want through months long hearings and committee reviews. Republican proposed amendments became part of the law.
What we know about the Senate version of AHCA
Little is known about what is in the Senate version of the AHCA except for a few leaked possibilities. Senate Republicans are trying to soften the blow to people with pre-existing conditions while still keeping hardliners like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee onboard.
The committee of 13 white male Republicans is proposing to eliminate Medicaid by 2027 for all intents and purposes. By then, only about 100,000 Americans rather than the current 11.1 million will be eligible for the Trumpcare Medicaid subsidy according to an L.A.Times analysis.
Who will gain from the Senate’s version?
Look for large tax cuts for the wealthy, drug companies, insurance companies and other industries according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Remember, no Democrats are expected to support the bill – it’s all on the Republicans who have to satisfy ultra-conservatives who want to ax everything, and moderates who want to hang onto some of the ACA benefits to their poorer constituents.
Ongoing lawsuits left over from the Obama Administration
Complicating everything is the ongoing lawsuit between the House of Representatives and the White House, a holdover from the Obama Administration, about the legality of ACA cost-sharing insurance subsidies for poorer people to cover doctor and hospital co-payments. If these monthly payments suddenly stop, the insurance market could collapse.
Read more about the subsidies and the latest development – The Trump White House has asked for a 90-day delay.
Here is the latest on the healthcare bill in the Senate from Indivisible – Round 2, the Healthcare bill in the Senate