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Will It Pass? Bullet Points On the Senate Obamacare Repeal Bill

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | June 22, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | June 22, 2017 |

— Ends the Obamacare mandates, which were necessary to ensure that young, healthier people would enroll, thus driving down the cost of premiums for everyone (the end result here is that premiums will be cheaper for younger, healthier people, but more expensive and/or cost-prohibitive for older, sicker people, i.e., the people who need insurance the most).

— The Medicaid expansion will be phased out over three years, but the phasing out won’t begin until 2021, so after the next election (thus ensuring that millions of poor people who lose their insurance may not hate Trump until after the 2020 election). The end result, however, is the same: Millions and millions of poor people will lose their health coverage, including most poor children. The Medicaid cuts will be phased in over a longer period of time than the House bill, but they are vicious, deeper cuts.

This chart (from the NYTimes) shows who Medicaid covers, so you an idea of who these cuts will affect the most.

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— Defunds Planned Parenthood.

— Allows states to apply for waivers so that insurance companies would not have to provide all essential health benefits, the end result being cheaper premiums for some, but far less coverage. If someone gets cancer, for instance, they may find out that their cheap insurance policy doesn’t cover cancer treatment, but maybe it offers great coverage for, say, acupuncture!

— Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies would remain intact until 2019 (i.e., after the midterms).

— It contains a huge, huge tax cut for the wealthy

— I guess a perk of the bill is that it would allow people to use their Health Savings Accounts to purchase over-the-counter medication. So, you know, Americans would get a tax break on that Tylenol they’ll be forced to use to treat their CANCER.

— It’s still unclear if it will pass, and I’ve given up trying to predict these things. It seems to cater to hardliners like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz at the expense of moderates like Rob Portman of Ohio and Shelly Capito of West Virginia, two states whose citizens rely heavily on those Medicaid subsidies. Lisa Murkowksi of Alaska also uses more Medicaid money per capita than any other state, and both Murkowski and moderate Susan Collins once vowed not to vote for any bill that would defund Planned Parenthood. However, there are Obamacare-like subsidies tied to income (rather than age, as in the House bill) that might persuade some moderates to go along, although Rand Paul doesn’t seem to be a fan, and Ted Cruz is already trying to offer an amendment.

Three Republicans have to vote against the bill to kill it. Even if it does pass, it would again have to go back to the House, and if the House passes it, there’s a minuscule chance that Trump rejects a bill he has called “mean” while demanding more “heart” from the Senate version (this bill has less heart). Trump apparently doesn’t love where the bill is at now.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.