Senate Republicans’ latest health bill keeps some Obamacare taxes on the wealthy and directs more than $100 billion in new spending to help low-income Americans buy coverage and combat the opioid epidemic.
A revised Obamacare repeal plan also includes a proposal, designed to mollify conservatives, that would allow insurers that sell plans meeting Obamacare’s coverage requirements to also sell skimpier, less expensive plans that don’t comply with the law.
The new proposal seeks to thread the needle between conservatives and moderates after the Senate’s original repeal package sparked opposition from all corners of the GOP caucus. Republicans hope to vote on the new bill next week.
It would keep Obamacare’s net investment income tax and an additional Medicare Health Insurance Tax, and it would no longer scrap a tax break for high-earning health insurance executives.
The latest draft, however, doesn’t make any significant changes to the Medicaid overhaul proposed in the original plan, which would cut nearly $800 billion from the entitlement by rolling back Obamacare’s expansion of the program and capping payments for each enrollee.
The latest plan does make some minor changes to the Medicaid program that could address the concerns of some senators. For example, it would allow the cap on Medicaid payments to be lifted in the event of a medical emergency, a provision sought by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, which has been battling the Zika outbreak.
The Senate would direct an additional $70 billion to help states lower costs for low-income insurance customers. That’s in addition to $112 billion that was in the original bill.
It also adds to $45 billion to address the opioid crisis, which could help win over moderates like Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.