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News Thursday, Jun 29 2017

BREAKING: Republicans still trying to gut Medicaid in closed-door Trumpcare salvage negotiations 

Jun 29, 2017

Some of the ‘bribes‘ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is considering adding to his Trumpcare bill to entice Republicans Senators to vote for it are leaking out – but one change Republicans reportedly aren’t considering at all is abandoning their scheme to end Medicaid as we know it.

“Mitch McConnell is struggling to put lipstick on a pig,” said American Bridge spokesperson Andrew Bates. “He tried to hide the Senate Trumpcare bill because he knew the American people would be infuriated with an Affordable Care Act replacement that guts Medicaid in order to still cut taxes for the wealthy – and no tinkering around the edges will change that fact. It’s time for a bipartisan approach that doesn’t put the American people last.”

After Republicans were forced to delay even holding a vote to begin debating the dangerous bill that was crafted in secret and would cut taxes for the wealthy, the Trump administration revealed this morning McConnell would be adding “bribes” to the bill in a plot to bring it back from the dead. One of the changes being discussed is a small increase in funding for opioid addiction treatment that is utterly negligible compared to what their deep cuts and structural changes to Medicaid would cause for the fight against the opioid epidemic.  In fact, the very Harvard Medical School professor who came up with the funding level being discussed says Republicans are taking his work out of context and is warning that it is nowhere near enough money to make a difference in stemming the tide of opioid addiction.

Another change being proposed is removing *one* of the tax cuts that Trumpcare would shower on the rich.

Most importantly, what is not being discussed by McConnell? Removing the provisions of the Senate Trumpcare Trumpcare that would gut Medicaid, which 74 million working Americans, seniors, and children depend on to have healthcare.

Caitlin Owens

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to wrangle members from opposite ends of the Republican caucus together to support some revised version of the Senate health care bill, offering both moderates and conservatives new policies to shore up support for the bill.

On the table: More funding to fight the opioid epidemic, revised health savings account policies, potentially getting rid of the repeal of the net investment tax on the wealthy.

Off the table: Undermining pre-existing conditions protections, which could happen indirectly under a plan Sen. Ted Cruz is pushing,

What we’re hearing:

  • There’s a push to include as much as $45 billion in funding for the opioid crisis, up from $2 billion under last week’s bill. This would be a win for moderates like Sens. Rob Portman and Shelley Moore Capito.
  • There’s also an effort to add more funding to the state stabilization fund, and to make the funding available sooner to states.
  • There will likely be a provision allowing health savings accounts to be used for premiums. This is a win for conservatives, and could help middle-class people afford their premiums. One aide said the price tag could be around $60 billion, as it would result in lost tax revenue. (HSA contributions aren’t taxed.)
  • There’s chatter about removing a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s 3.8 percent investment tax, which benefits wealthy people. This would free up some extra funding to help coverage levels, and would also help combat the narrative that the bill cuts coverage for the poor to give money to the wealthy.

What’s becoming a big problem: Cruz is pushing to allow insurers offering ACA-compliant plans to also offer non-compliant plans, which wouldn’t be required to meet the ACA’s pre-existing conditions protections or other insurance regulations. Cruz wants to include that in the revised bill to cut the cost of individual insurance, and says sick people could still get subsidies that would protect them from premium hikes.

But that’s off the table, senior GOP aides say, because most Republican senators have already decided they don’t want to undermine the ACA’s pre-existing condition protections in any way.

Published: Jun 29, 2017

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