5 ways the Senate could change the House's healthcare bill
There are at least five different reasons the bill is up for debate. If these changes occur, the Senate’s version of the bill will have to go back to the House and pass or the Senate and House will have to agree to a compromised bill.
The American Health Care Act would cut the health insurance plan targeted for the poor and disabled and would end federal payments that 31 states have received to expand their Medicaid programs. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) is one of the Senators concerned that cutting into this program would hurt his constituents as he told USA Today, “I continue to have concerns that this bill does not do enough to protect Ohio's Medicaid expansion population, especially those who are receiving treatment for heroin and prescription drug abuse."
2. Planned Parenthood
Republican senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski were opposed to cutting federal funding to Planned Parenthood in the previous form of AHCA and would likely seek to remove this provision from this latest bill. Collins and Murkowski are known among the Republican caucus to be more moderate in their views and votes than their counterparts.
3. Pre-existing conditions
Senator Collins and Republican senator Bill Cassidy are still concerned with how those with pre-existing conditions will be covered. In an interview with CNN, Cassidy referred to this concern as the “Jimmy Kimmel test” after Kimmel discussed his son with congenital heart disease – a disease covered by the Affordable Care Act. In a statement, Collins said, “There should be no barrier to coverage for pre-existing conditions as long as people enroll and pay their premiums.” Collins also told Vox, “It appears to be unclear how people with preexisting conditions would be treated under the bill. That’s a major concern of mine.” AHCA protects pre-existing conditions but it would allow states to have waivers that could change the quality or amount of coverage a patient is able to obtain.
4. An amendment giving assistance to low income families
Axios is reporting that Sen. John Thune is working on a proposal that would “give more assistance to low-income people and cap the assistance at a lower income level than it currently is.” For those making less than 250 percent of the poverty line, a tax credit would be given to help pay for health care based on income and age. The current bill only gives a tax credit based on age.
5. Congressional Budget Office Scoring
The bill still hasn’t been scored by the Congressional Budget Office which means we still don’t know how much the latest House bill costs, how it affects the deficit and how many people would keep or lose their insurance. This could drastically change the entire crux of the House’s bill. The first edition of the American Health Care act decreased the deficit by $300 billion but it also put over 24 million people at risk of losing their health insurance over the next 10 years.