Senate Republicans revealed their secretive healthcare bill Thursday, unveiling a plan that would impose deep cuts to Medicaid, try to defund abortion providers like Planned Parenthood and scale back tax credits for low- and middle-income Americans while slashing taxes on the nation’s wealthiest citizens.
Thursday’s unveiling of the bill that was written entirely behind closed doors is the first time Senate Democrats and much of the GOP conference have had a chance to take a look at the healthcare reform bill, titled the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing for a vote by the end of next week — which won’t give Senate Democrats who were snubbed during the drafting process much time to review the 142-page bill.
To pass, the bill needs only a simple majority, which means McConnell can’t lose more than two seats on the GOP side.
In the event of a 50-50 tie, Vice President Mike Pence will cast the deciding vote.
Here’s a look at some of the major tenets of the Senate’s healthcare bill:
The healthcare bill eliminates the individual insurance mandate
The Obamacare mandate requiring individuals to purchase insurance would be eliminated under the Senate Republicans’ healthcare plan.
The healthcare bill offers tax credits, but there’s a catch
To help people afford insurance, the Senate bill proposes income-based tax credits that are slightly less generous than what is currently offered under Obamacare. This is a change from the House healthcare bill, which proposed age-based tax credits that estimates said could cause premiums for older Americans to rise by more than 700 percent — the Senate GOP plan aims to make sure older Americans aren’t penalized.
The Senate plan would make tax credits available for anyone earning up to 350 percent of the poverty level — about $86,000 a year for a family of four. The Obamacare cap was 400 percent — about $98,000 a year for a family of four.
The credits would be capped at a lower percentage of overall medical costs than those under Obamacare.
The healthcare bill cuts Medicaid — a lot
Starting in 2020, millions of people would be rolled off of Medicaid, the federally funded health insurance program for low-income Americans.
The bill plans to wind down the Obamacare expansion which extended benefits to people making 138 percent of the federal poverty limit — about $34,000 a year for a family of four. Those people would be tossed back into the individual insurance market where they would be eligible for tax credits, though they would no longer be mandated to purchase insurance.
The healthcare bill has Medicaid work requirements
Low-income Americans still eligible to receive Medicaid could face work requirements. The bill would allow states to create provisions requiring people to maintain employment in order to keep their benefits. The provision would not apply to students, pregnant women or the disabled.
The healthcare bill slashes taxes for the wealthy
A 3.8 percent tax on investment income for people earning more than $200,000 a year would be repealed under the Senate healthcare plan, meaning taxes would fall predominantly for a small percentage of very wealthy Americans.
The healthcare bill offers no funds for abortions
The bill would effectively defund Planned Parenthood, as it bars any funding allocated under the healthcare bill to be given to providers that offer abortion. Plans purchased using funding from the bill would not cover abortions under the bill.
The healthcare bill establishes one-time grants to fight the opioid crisis
The bill would create a one-time $2 billion fund for state programs that “support substance-use disorder treatment and recovery support services for individuals with mental or substance-use disorders.”
Read the full text of the bill below: