Update June 22:
On Thursday, Republican leadership in the Senate released a draft of the health care bill they plan to use to repeal and replace Obamacare.
As it stands, the bill will make extreme cuts to Medicaid, end the Obamacare mandate that most Americans have health insurance and defund Planned Parenthood.
Additionally, the bill would create a large tax cut for the wealthy and allow states to drop many of the benefits required by the Affordable Care Act, like maternity care, emergency services and mental health treatment.
There is a clause which does not allow states to drop people with pre-exisiting conditions, an issue heavily debated when the bill was passed through the House.
Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell believes the bill will pass, four Republican Senators have already spoken against it. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin announced that they would oppose it without changes.
“It does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs,” the four wrote in a joint statement.
Previous May 4:
In a narrow 217-213 vote, House Republicans passed their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare with the American Health Care Act. As it stands, the bill will loosen up the guidelines set by the Affordable Care Act to protect people with pre-existing conditions.
As a result of the bill passing in the House, it will get sent to the Senate, where a simple majority is needed in order for the bill to be signed into law by Trump.
In the next phase, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will need to make appropriate changes to the AHCA to win at least 50 Republican Senators. Then Vice President Pence would break the tie, bringing the vote to 51-50.
The bill as written is not expected to gain as much support from all Republicans in the Senate, as they are worried about stripping coverage from their voters.
After the vote passed, House Democrats chanted "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam to suggest Republicans will be losing their seat come re-election time.
Previous 1:06 p.m:
After initially falling short on votes, House Republicans feel they have enough support to repeal and replace Obamacare with the American Health Care Act. Over the last several weeks, the GOP has made revisions to the bill, which they believe will satisfy members in their party who heavily rejected it previously.
Although the House GOP plans to move forward with a vote on Thursday afternoon, there are still a number of undecided congressional members. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office has not released a report on the revised bill nor has the public been able to review the changes. This directly contradicts previous Republican promises to allow the public to view a bill for at least three days before a vote.
The lack of transparency pertaining to the bill has many worried about how their health coverage will be affected. Based on several reports, the revisions in the AHCA will still cause millions of people to lose their coverage.
Based on several reports, here's a few major changes included in the new AHCA:
In the AHCA, the states would have an option on whether or not they charge people with pre-existing conditions the same price as those who are healthy. One of the major components of Obama's Affordable Care Act was its mandate to charge individuals the same price, regardless of health condition.
Although GOP members — including House Speaker Paul Ryan — have maintained there is an amendment protecting people with pre-existing conditions, the issue is more complicated than the amendment.
The details of the McArthur Amendement — originally proposed by New Jersey Congressman Tom MacArthur — prove there are no hard rules protecting those with pre-existing conditions. Also, the amendment would gut the essential benefits clause in Obamacare, which means preventative health services may no longer be covered.
Also sexual assault, rape, and mental health disorders could be categorized as pre-existing conditions. Depending on the state, someone who has been a victim of sexual assault or suffers from mental health issues could be denied coverage.
Under the AHCA, the Medicaid expansion which occurred under Obamacare could ultimately disappear. Additionally, states would be given "block grants" for Medicaid, which could result in many people getting kicked off Medicaid in order to drive down cost.
Based on the original report from the Congressional Budget Office, the AHCA could result in up to $883 billion in tax cuts for the extremely wealthy. While people at the top keep more of their money, the individual cost of premiums for poor and sick people would drastically rise.
In a nutshell, this is a plan for the rich by the rich. People who are low-income, sick, victims of assault, on Medicaid, or unemployed would suffer from the new plan.
(Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)