Senate Unveils Draft of GOP Health Care Legislation

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, meets with reporters following a closed-door strategy session, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 20, 2017. Sen. McConnell says Republicans will have a "discussion draft" of a GOP-only bill scuttling former President Barack Obama's health care law by Thursday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Republicans have unveiled a draft of their legislation to revamp the government’s role in the nation’s health care system, a proposal that includes big reductions to Medicaid, defunds Planned Parenthood, eliminates the Obamacare mandate requiring individuals to purchase insurance and offers tax credits to help people afford insurance while slashing taxes for the wealthy.

The major change to health care comes in the form of Medicaid. The bill winds down the expanded Medicaid program under Obamacare after 2020 — a longer timeline than the House health care bill that was passed in May. But it also makes deeper cuts to the program in the long run, by 2025, through changing the federal funding allocation formula for states to receive fewer federal dollars for Medicaid recipients.

The bill also allows states to implement work requirements for Medicaid recipients. It’s an attempt at a compromise to appease those Medicaid advocates like Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Susan Collins of Maine as well as conservatives like Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Some major components of Obamacare are kept in place, however. Republican senators say the bill makes no changes in the law protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions from being denied insurance. Young adults up to the age of 26 are able to stay on their parents’ insurance.

The measure also keeps a similar program to help people who purchase insurance out of pocket, known as the individual marketplace, afford the insurance through tax credits based on income, combining the ideas behind Obamacare and the House bill. The House bill gave people tax credits based on age, severely impacting older Americans who would see premiums rise by more than 700 percent, according to analysis of the bill.