Senate health care bill: What is in it? Read it here


On Thursday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a draft of the Senate’s health care bill. 

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The Washington Post reported that the draft, already slammed for being prepared behind closed doors, is similar to the House health care bill, but will dramatically roll back taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act.

Here is what is known about the bill:

Where can I read it?

The draft of the bill was released to senators Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET. The Senate released the draft to the public after that.

>> Read the bill here

What’s in it?

According to The Washington Post and The Associated Press, the draft of the bill includes: 

The bill would repeal most of the taxes that pay for the Affordable Care Act.

Subsidies to help purchase insurance would still be available. Those subsidies would be determined by income and the amount of premiums people pay. Americans earning between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. According to the draft, assistance will be capped for those earning 350 percent of the federal poverty level beginning in 2020.

The plan would eliminate waivers that have allowed insurers to boost premiums on some people with pre-existing conditions.

It allows for federally subsidized health care plans that cover abortion but cuts funding for Planned Parenthood for at least one year.

The Senate bill would also impose annual limits on the federal Medicaid funds that would go to each state.

The Senate would end the tax penalties the ACA implemented for people not buying insurance and certain employers not offering coverage.

Who is writing it?

According to McConnell, he initially chose a 13-member group to work on the bill. In the past weeks, McConnell's office has taken the lead drafting the bill.

According to Sen. Mike Lee, (R-Utah), in a Facebook video, "It's apparently being written by a handful of staffers who are members of the Republican leadership in the Senate.”

According to other senators, staffers from the Senate Finance Committee and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee are drafting it, the Washington Examiner reported. 

What is the timeline?

The draft is to be released at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. A vote is expected to be called on the bill before next week’s July 4 congressional recess.

Can Democrats stop the bill? 

The bill cannot be filibustered because it requires only a majority vote to pass. On Monday, Democrats held the Senate floor and gave a series of speeches slamming the process and the bill. 

Can Republicans stop it?

Yes, they can. If three GOP senators vote no.

Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate. Assuming no Democrat is going to vote yes, if two Republican senators vote no, the vote ends in a 50-50 tie. Vice President Mike Pence can vote yes to break the tie and pass the bill.

If three GOP senators vote no, the bill will not pass.

What happens if the Senate passes the bill?

If the bill passes, the House must do one of two things: vote to pass the Senate bill as it is, or go into negotiations with the Senate to get a compromise bill. If they negotiate a compromise bill, that bill must then be voted on and passed by both the House and the Senate for it to become law.


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