A revised Senate Republican health care bill will likely retain a pair of tax boosts President Barack Obama imposed on wealthier Americans that have helped finance his law’s expansion of coverage, a leading Senate Republican said Tuesday.
The two levies, one on investment income and another on the payroll tax that helps finance the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly, are among the biggest that Obama’s 2010 statute imposed. Some of the money would be used to increase a fund the GOP bill would disperse to states to help insurers contain consumers’ premiums and deductibles, said No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas. Preserving those taxes “seems to be where we’re headed,” Cornyn told reporters.
He said the reworked bill will also provide $45 billion over a decade to help states combat abuse of drugs including opioids, and make it easier for states to get federal waivers to decide how to spend money under their Medicaid health programs for the poor, elderly and nursing home patients. Cornyn spoke after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-K) announced he will introduce his party’s altered health care bill Thursday and begin trying to muscle it through the Senate next week. The effort comes with the fate of the GOP measure in doubt, with internal divisions threatening to mortally wound their top-tier goal of repealing much of Obama’s overhaul.