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Healthcare Reform News Update for July 14, 2017

Healthcare Reform News Update for July 14, 2017

Where GOP Senators Stand on the Updated Healthcare Bill

Here is how Senate Republicans are leaning. Two Republican senators have said they will oppose the new piece of legislation:

  • Susan Collins (R-ME)
  • Rand Paul (R-KY)

Eight Republican senators have either currently or previously expressed concerns over the bill’s language and are likely to vote against it without change:

  • Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
  • Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
  • Bob Corker (R-TN)
  • Dean Heller (R-NV)
  • John McCain (R-AZ)
  • Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Rob Portman (R-OH)
  • Ben Sasse (R-NE)

Twenty-three Republican senators are unsure, and the remaining 19 are likely to vote yes on the bill in its current state.

Senator Lindsey Graham Introduces State-Focused Healthcare Proposal

In the event that the Senate GOP’s healthcare bill does not progress, Senator Lindsey Graham has introduced a separate proposal. In Graham’s plan, federal funding for healthcare would be sent directly to states to allocate as they see fit.

When talking about the bill, Graham explained: “Instead of having a one-size-fits-all solution from Washington, we should return dollars back to the states to address each individual state’s health care needs. Just like no two patients are the same, no two states’ health care needs are the same. A solution that works in California may not work in Virginia. These funds are already being spent on Obamacare, but instead of having Washington decide, we’ll empower each individual state to choose the path that works best for them.”

Graham has been working with colleague Bill Cassidy on the proposition.

Healthcare Reform News Update for July 13, 2017

Senate Releases Updated Healthcare Reform Bill

The Senate on Thursday released an updated version of its healthcare reform bill. The majority of the bill has been left the same, but the following sections have been modified:

  • Obamacare taxes: For individuals making more than $200,000, a 3.8 percent investment tax would no longer be repealed. Additionally, taxes on health-insurance executives and a Medicare tax would no longer be repealed.
  • Opioid crisis funding: Financing to tackle the nation’s opioid dilemma would increase from $2 billion to about $45 billion.
  • The Cruz amendment: A modified version of Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s amendment, which allows health insurance companies to sell plans with less coverage if they also sell ACA-compliant plans, is included in the Senate’s healthcare bill.
  • Tax credits on catastrophic coverage: Under the updated Senate healthcare bill, individuals would be allowed to use tax credits to purchase these high-deductible plans.
  • State individual market stability fund: Funding to help states lower premiums and healthcare costs would increase by $70 billion. This is an addition to the $112 billion allotted in the Senate bill’s previous version.
  • Health savings accounts and premiums: A new provision in the Senate bill would allow individuals to use health savings accounts to pay for their premiums.

The revised bill does not address cuts to the Medicaid program that concern many moderate Republican senators. However, it would lift federal budget restraints “for areas of a state during a declared emergency.”

Senate Parliamentarian Agrees House’s Healthcare Bill Follows Reconciliation Rules

Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate Parliamentarian, has agreed with Republicans and decided that the House’s healthcare bill follows Senate reconciliation rules. This judgement will allow the Senate to make revisions without any procedural obstacles, although members are already modifying their own healthcare bill.

House Subcommittee Proposes $1.1 Billion Funding Increase for NIH

The House subcommittee proposed a $1.1 billion funding increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Wednesday. The White House previously suggested a $5.8 billion decrease in funding, though the proposal was met with opposition from members of both congressional parties.

President Trump Will Be ‘Very Angry’ If Obamacare Reform Bill Does Not Pass

During an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network’s Pat Robertson, President Donald Trump said this about the possibility that the Senate won’t pass a healthcare bill: “Well, I don’t even want to talk about it, because I think it would be very bad. I will be very angry about it, and a lot of people will be very upset. But I’m sitting waiting for that bill to come to my desk. I hope that they do it. They’ve been promising it for years…He’s got to pull it off. [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)] has to pull it off. He’s working very hard. He’s got to pull it off.”

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