Majority Leader Mitch McConnell officially revealed the Senate's version of the American Healthcare Act Thursday morning, better known as the Obamacare repeal bill passed by the House.
"In the many years since Obamacare was imposed on the American people, it has continued to hurt the people we represent — over, and over, and over again. Higher costs. Fewer choices. Pain and heartbreak for the middle class. We’ve watched Obamacare unravel before our very eyes with each passing year. Now it teeters on the edge of collapse, and we face a choice — allow the unsustainable Obamacare status quo to continue hurting more Americans, or take action to finally move forward," McConnell said during a speech on the Senate floor. "More Americans are going to get hurt unless we do something."
Here's what we know so far, according to McConnell:
-Repeals the Obamacare individual mandate
-Repeals the Obamacare employer mandate
-Improves the affordability of health insurance
-Eliminates costly Obamacare taxes, including the medical device tax
-Expands tax free health savings accounts
-Deploys tax credits to make coverage more affordable
-Shifts power from Washington D.C. to the states
-Stabilizes the health insurance market with a $15 billion, four year fund
-Transitions away from Obamacare entirely, but not right away
-Protects coverage of preexisting conditions
-Allows parents to keep their children on their health insurance until they are 26-years-old
The legislation has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, but an estimated cost of the bill is expected Friday or Monday. It is being classified as a "discussion draft" and is open for changes and amendments.
The bill is 142 pages long. The Obamacare bill, also known as the Affordable Care Act, is 2300 pages with 20,000 additional pages of regulations.
You can read the legislation by clicking here.
Republicans must reach 50 votes for passage. Vice President Mike Pence will cast vote 51. Eight Republicans have expressed skepticism the legislation can deliver on promises made to voters.
The Democrats Are Health Care Reform Hypocrites!
Democrat complaints that they haven’t been included in the negotiations on replacing Obamacare should be seen as purely efforts to score political points and obstruct the process.
Sen. McCaskill was confronted with this fact this morning when she was reminded that every Senate Democrat signed a letter to Republicans in early May stating they would refuse to negotiate with Republicans unless repeal and replace language was dropped. A petty request.
And remember, Sen. Schumer stated on multiple occasions that Senate Democrats would not be working with Republicans, saying at the beginning of the process, “Not a single Democrat is negotiating.”
Sen. McCaskill went on to argue that eliminating the tax increases in Obamacare is a bad idea saying, “Why do we need to give rich people a tax break right now to take health care away from Americans? What is the deal there? Why does the 1 percent -- the 1 percent in this country is doing great. My family doesn't need a tax cut.”
But, Sen. McCaskill has been called out on her claim that these tax increases only effected wealthy Americans, when in fact they actually hurt many income levels. Politifact labeled her similar claims on this issue in January as “mostly false.”
Finally, Sen. McCaskill’s choice to use her own family as an example of those who don’t need a tax cut is an interesting one given her long history of tax avoidance.
SAM STEIN: About a couple months ago, there was some talk, led primarily by Senator Bill Cassidy about putting together some sort of compromise legislation that obviously wouldn't give Democrats what they wanted, but wouldn’t be a full repeal and replace of Obamacare.
And, Democrats made the conscious decision to not partake in those talks. They said you have to take repeal and replace fully off the table before we join the table. Was that a mistake? You might end up with a strictly republican authored bill. You could have potentially had something that was far more moderate, but you chose not to do it.
SENATOR CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO): Well, I'm not sure that we would have had something that was far more moderate. Because, there was not enough Republicans that were interested in avoiding the repeal and replace reality. So I'm not sure that was a viable alternative.
In Early May, Every Senate Democrat Signed A Letter To Republican Leaders Stating The Only Way Democrats Would Negotiate On Health Care Reform Was If Republicans Dropped Repeal Language:
“Senate Democrats On Tuesday [May 9] Sent A Letter To Republican Leaders Urging Them To Drop Their Efforts To Repeal And Replace Obamacare And Instead To Work With Them On Drafting Fixes To The Healthcare Law.” (Robert King and Kimberly Leonard, “Senate Democrats urge GOP to halt repeal efforts,” Washington Examiner, 5/9/17)
Sen. Chuck Schumer Declared That Democrats Are Not Working With Republicans On Healthcare Reform, Saying “Until They [Republicans] Back Off Repeal, There's Really Nothing We Can Talk About.”
SCHUMER: “We said all along, we say to this day, get off this repeal. Look, we have made real progress over the last several years, 20 million people covered who weren't covered, preexisting conditions taken care of, 21-to-26-year-olds getting coverage. The list goes on. We said, back off repeal, which would walk back many of these things incompletely or by degree, and we will work with you to fix it.” TAPPER: “But what...” SCHUMER: “They still haven't gotten up to the first stage. Until they back off repeal, there's really nothing we can talk about.” (CNN’s “The Lead With Jake Tapper, 5/9/17)
Democrats Have Long Refused To Work With Republicans On Fixing Obamacare:
Sen. Chuck Schumer Declared In February That “Not A Single Democrat Is Negotiating” On A Replacement For Obamacare. “‘Not a single Democrat is negotiating,’ Schumer said on a call organized by MoveOn and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. ‘We ain’t resting until the move to repeal the ACA has a dagger through its heart.’” (David Weigel, “Schumer: No Democrat Is Compromising With GOP On Obamacare Replacement,” The Washington Post, 1/10/17)
Schumer Has Threatened To Filibuster Any Repeal Of Obamacare. “Schumer said Democrats would use that same 60-vote threshold to protect Obamacare from President Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress who are vowing to dismantle it.” (Ted Barrett, “Schumer: Democratic Opposition Holding Against Gorsuch, Obamacare Repeal,” CNN, 2/21/17)
All House Democrats Voted Against The Republican Sponsored Healthcare Reform Bill. “Earlier, the Republican proposal passed the House by a vote of 217 to 213. All 193 Democrats voted against the bill. They were joined by 20 Republicans who voted ‘no.’ The GOP-sponsored bill now goes to the Senate, where approval could prove more difficult as Republicans hold a slimmer majority in that chamber.” (Christine Wang, “GOP Either Doesn’t Know The Facts Or Doesn’t Care About People, Pelosi Says After Health Bill Vote,” CNBC, 5/4/17)
- House Democrats Acted Childishly After The Vote, Chanting At Republicans On The House Floor. “As giddy Republicans clapped when they got the necessary 216 votes to pass the bill effectively replacing Obamacare, members of the Democratic party broke out into: ‘Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,’ singing to the conservatives in the room. The song signaled what many Democrats believe will be a turning point for Republicans -- a vote that will ultimately lose GOP members votes and end the Republican majority in the House.” (Miranda Green, “Dems To GOP After AHCA Vote: ‘Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye,’” CNN, 5/4/17)
- Former President Obama Urged Democrats To Not “Rescue” Republicans By Helping Them Pass Replacement Measures. “In a Capitol Hill pep talk Wednesday, Obama urged Democrats not to ‘rescue’ Republicans by helping them pass replacement measures, according to sources in the room.” (MJ Lee, “How The Tables Are Turning On ObamaCare,” CNN, 1/9/17)
Complied By The Republican National Committee