Jul 13, 2017

Here comes the brand new Senate health bill

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

One important thing to keep in mind as Senate Republicans unveil their revised health-care bill today: This is not necessarily the final bill. The parliamentarian could still change it. Negotiations with individual senators could still change it.

Even if Sen. Ted Cruz's consumer-choice proposal makes it in, that policy also could still change. At a minimum, lawmakers will need a new score from the Congressional Budget Office. So, we're not done yet.

All of that said, here's what we're expecting from version 1.1.

  • Broadly the same as version 1.0, without any major changes to the Medicaid provisions
  • Some of the ACA's taxes on wealthy people would no longer be repealed
  • More money for the bill's "stabilization fund" — which is to say, more money to help the states keep premiums under control
  • A new provision to allow people over 30 to buy high-deductible plans, per Caitlin Owens
  • As much as $45 billion in new money to combat the opioid crisis

If Republicans were moving any closer to a deal yesterday, they didn't show it. Among the rotating cast of senators most likely to keep the bill shy of 50 votes, no one seemed to be softening — if anything, some opponents seem to be hardening.

  • Sen. Rand Paul, whose vote was already gone, reiterated his opposition yesterday.
  • The bill's moderate critics — including Sens. Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito and Lisa Murkowski — are still concerned about Medicaid, and for now, the Medicaid cuts seem locked in.
  • The insurance industry's opposition to Cruz's consumer-choice plan won't help it win moderate support, and if it doesn't find a way into the bill, Cruz, Mike Lee and (potentially) Ron Johnson are likely out.

Republican senators will learn the details about the new bill at an 11:30 briefing.

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