Here We Go Again

Capitol-SenateA newly revised version of the Senate healthcare bill is expected to be released tomorrow. And a vote on the plan could happen as early as next week.

From National Public Radio (NPR):

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., plans to release an updated Republican health care bill on Thursday and is delaying the body’s annual August recess by two weeks in an effort to generate momentum for the beleaguered legislation.

“In order to provide more time to complete action on important legislative items and process nominees that have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle, the Senate will delay the start of the August recess until the third week of August,” McConnell said in a statement. Originally senators were supposed to head home at the end of July.

According to Fox News, “The move came as two people familiar with the Senate GOP health-care legislation to be unveiled later this week said it likely will retain both of the Affordable Care Act’s taxes that affect high-income households.”

Keeping the taxes serves several goals. First, it frees up about $230 billion over a decade that Republicans could spend on health care and use as they woo holdout lawmakers.

Second, it blunts some Democratic arguments against the bill, which have focused on the fact that it reduces taxes for wealthy households while cutting spending on Medicaid for low-income people.

However, the New York Times wrote, “the largest changes to the health care system are likely to remain in the bill. About two-thirds of the increase in the projected number of uninsured Americans would result from deep cuts in expected Medicaid spending, the budget office said. The bill would impose caps on Medicaid spending and would roll back the expansion of the program under the Affordable Care Act.”

Reuters pointed out it was “unknown whether a revised version of the bill to be announced on Thursday morning can satisfy both moderates and hard-line conservatives in the Republican majority who voiced opposition to a draft unveiled last month on very different grounds.” Reuters also put together a short video which you can watch by clicking here or on the picture below.

reuters

Republicans cannot afford to lose more than two votes from its own ranks for the bill to pass. That may be difficult as a Time Magazine article shows there are still a number of Republicans who are pessimistic about the future of the bill.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said he was “very pessimistic” that the health care measure will be approved. And one maverick Republican, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, warned leaders about retaliation by conservative voters should they react to a collapse of the measure by striking a deal with Democrats.

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) has long maintained that while changes to the current health law are needed, we cannot support the current version of the Senate health bill because we do not believe it best serves the people, patients and communities of our state. Click here to send a message to Senators McCain and Flake if you believe, as we do, that the current plan is not the answer. The clock is ticking and decisions that will greatly affect so many Arizonans could come as early as next week. Whether you agree or disagree with our position, we want to hear from you because we believe generating thoughtful conversations around key health issues will help us one day reach our goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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