Twenty-two million fewer people would have health coverage over the next 10 years under legislation that Senate Republicans aim to bring to the floor for a vote this week, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The measure would dramatically scale back federal funding for Medicaid and financial assistance low- and middle-income people receive to make private health insurance affordable. The hundreds of billions of dollars saved would mostly be transferred to wealthy people and health care companies in the form of tax cuts. And the bill would reduce the federal budget deficit by $321 billion over the coming decade.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants the upper chamber to pass the bill, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, as soon as Thursday. To date, five Republican senators have expressed opposition to the legislation, along with a variety of health care and patient groups, including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the AARP.
Senate GOP leaders, who just released the text of the bill last Thursday, have already made major revisions, adding provisions that would lock people out of the health insurance market for six months if they go without health coverage for more than 63 days. That part of the bill is intended to prevent people from waiting until they develop costly illnesses or injuries to sign up for coverage.
The Congressional Budget Office score includes an evaluation of the six-month lockout. But further changes made to win over votes from reluctant Republican senators and amendments made on the floor likely won’t be analyzed before the vote ― meaning senators will probably have to take a position on the measure before they know all the facts about it.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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