On the Senate’s New Healthcare Proposal

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans and a healthcare working group met to workshop the blueprint of a new health care proposal in a rejuvenated effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. Here’s what we know so far:

  • This health care plan, while highly reminiscent of the recently passed American Health Care Act (AHCA), offered key differences that addressed major concerns lawmakers and the public alike had about the AHCA.
  • For instance, states would not be allowed to apply for waivers for the coverage of the essential health benefits outlined by Obamacare, a provision in the AHCA which generated questions about whether insurance companies could then discriminate against citizens with pre-existing conditions.
  • Additionally, the working group proposed that the community rating regulations of the Obamacare era remain in place; these prevented health insurance companies from varying premiums between patients of different demographics.
  • Reportedly, these very additions were contentious amongst Senate Republicans, which lessens the likelihood of the plan becoming a bill in the next few weeks. Republicans currently have 52 seats in the Senate, which means that they can only afford to lose two votes with the help of Vice President Mike Pence to sway the majority. Democratic support is unlikely, and general Republican unease about the plan suggests that the party will not be able to present a united front either.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to put the bill to a vote soon, most likely before the July 4th recess.