Senate releases health care bill, lawmakers push back

Senate releases health care bill, lawmakers push back

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WMC) - It's been a much-anticipated wait – but Thursday the Senate Republicans released their version of a health care bill aimed to replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

The Senate's health care bill aims to cut Medicaid. But, not everyone is happy about the proposed bill, including some Senate Republicans. According to the Associated Press, four GOP senators said they were not in favor and did not support the current proposed bill from the Senate, but they said they were open to negotiating changes. Those Senators are Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ron Johnson (R-Wis), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Mike Lee (R-UT).

Some lawmakers said the version of the bill, which includes reducing tax credits and allowing state waivers, is much like what passed in the House of Representatives.

Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) said the bill provides for 'fatally deep' cuts to Medicaid and defunds Planned Parenthood.

"Much like the Trumpcare bill passed in the House of Representatives last month, the Republican health care bill in the Senate makes tragically and sometimes fatally deep cuts to Medicaid, allows states to waive critical essential health benefits such as maternity care, mental health services, pediatric services, preventative care services, drug abuse treatment and physical rehabilitation services, gives huge tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, provides woefully inadequate funding to fight the opioid epidemic, and defunds Planned Parenthood.

But many Republicans came to the defense of Trumpcare, including Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) who cited a list of benefits in the Senate bill.

"To begin with, the draft Senate health care bill makes no change in the law protecting people with pre-existing conditions, no change in Medicare benefits, and increases Medicaid funding— that's TennCare—at the rate of inflation. Let me repeat: it makes no change in the law protecting people with pre-existing conditions, no change in Medicare benefits, and increases funding for Medicaid—that's TennCare—at the rate of inflation."

Lawmakers such as Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss) praised the bill as a step toward small government.

"In almost every regard, this draft legislation represents another step to move us away from the unworkable aspects of Obamacare and toward a smaller government approach. If enacted, Americans would be far better off than they are under the failing Obamacare status quo. I am confident that we will have an opportunity to make additional improvements to this proposal, addressing both the astronomical increases in health insurance premiums and the lack of choices in the market," said Wicker.

The Senate's health care bill has been under attack since many lawmakers said the bill was created between a select few of the senators and was not made public until Thursday.

The House of Representatives approved its health care bill last month, but both houses will need to pass the same version of a health care bill before it heads to President Donald Trump for a signature.

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