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Draft of Senate Health Care Bill Released

Jun 22, 2017

Earlier today, Senate Republicans released their draft health care bill to reform the Affordable Care Act and the government's role in health care. The Senate Bill closely aligns with key provisions of the recently passed House Bill, which was a goal of Senate Republicans. The draft legislation is also viewed as an overhaul of various government entitlements.  

Highlights of the Senate draft legislation include:

  1. Significant reductions to Medicaid.
    1. Winds down the expanded Medicaid program established under the Affordable Care Act after 2020
  2. Offers tax credits to help people afford health insurance.
    1. Largely retains the existing federal tax credit structure established under the Affordable Care Act in 2010
  3. Does not allow insurers to deny coverage based on a pre-existing condition or charge more based on their health.
    1. The Bill does give states flexibility to waive the Affordable Care Act’s ‘Essential Health Benefits (EHB)’ – a list of 10 categories of coverage every insurance plan needs.  
  4. Eliminates the Affordable Care Act mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance.
  5. A Senate vote on the bill can only take place after the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores the bill.  It is anticipated that the CBO will complete its review of the bill by late Friday afternoon or Monday. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has scheduled approximately 20 hours of debate on the Senate Floor before a scheduled vote on the bill sometime late next week. The Majority Leader wants the Senate to vote on the Bill before they adjourn for the July 4 Congressional recess. It is anticipated that most of the debate on the Senate Bill will likely focus on the proposed cuts to the Medicaid program. 

To read the Senate Bill in its entirety, click here.

Your Academy will continue to monitor the legislative activities surrounding the Senate Bill, particularly those aspects that directly affect our members and their patients.  We will join with 60 organizations next week for a June 27, Congressional Briefing and Hill Day emphasizing rehabilitation and habilitation services and devices.  As a sponsoring organization of this briefing, your Academy has been involved in organizing congressional and committee visits, which are key to the success of this day.  Speakers include U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL).