Senate GOP releases new Obamacare repeal-and-replace plan

Senate GOP releases new Obamacare repeal-and-replace plan
The discussion draft of the ‘Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017’ has been released, amid ongoing opposition from Democrats and a number of Republican lawmakers who think the bill either goes too far, or not far enough.

The 171-page document is the second attempt of the Senate GOP to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare. It takes only three Republican dissenters to halt the law’s passage in the Senate.

As revised, the bill would keep some of the Obamacare taxes on wealthy Americans, provide new government subsidies for health insurance purchases, and allow providers to offer plans with less comprehensive coverage.

The second version would provide about $70 billion in additional funding to states in an effort to reduce premiums, hold down out-of-pocket costs, and make healthcare more affordable in general ‒ adding to the $100 billion in the first draft, the New York Times reported.

Other major features of the new draft allow the use of individual health savings accounts and additional $45 billion in funding to fight the opioid addiction epidemic. Obamacare’s individual mandate, funding for Planned Parenthood, and cost-sharing subsidies would all be eliminated.

The new draft contains a separate amendment offered by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), which would allow providers to sell cheaper, deregulated insurance plans so long as they offered Obamacare-compliant plans as well.

“We’re making serious progress towards coming together and unifying our conference and getting a bill that can command the support of at least 50 senators,” he said on Arizona’s KFYI radio this morning.

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the bill is expected Monday, but it may not include the Cruz amendment.

Criticizing the opposition to the bill coming from some Republicans, the Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that this is the best proposal the party has got.

"If you vote ‘no’ on this bill, it essentially is a vote for Obamacare because that's what we're going to be left with," Cornyn said on Fox News Thursday morning.

One of those opposed is Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who said the new bill does not repeal Obamacare, “not even close.”

The first version of the bill never reached a vote due to opposition within the GOP. Some Republicans expressed pessimism that the new plan would fare any better.

"I don't even know that it's going to get to a vote," said Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), according to Politico.