- Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein
The Senate finally released the text to its “skinny repeal” plan on Thursday.
Republican senators formed the last-ditch effort, called the “Health Care Freedom Act,” after earlier votes on the Senate’s healthcare plans failed.
The Senate will vote on the plan at midnight Eastern time.
The skinny bill includes a series of amendments that would aim to repeal certain unpopular parts of the Affordable Care Act.
Here’s what’s in the bill:
- The bill would repeal both the individual and employer mandates, which requires individuals to have health insurance, and employers to provide health insurance to employees. If they don’t, they face a penalty fee under Obamacare. The employer mandate would only be eliminated until 2024. The bill repeals a tax on medical-device makers for three years. It cuts federal funding to places that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood, for a year. It provides flexibility to states through 1332 waivers to expand the types of health plans they offer. It increases the amount people can put in health savings accounts from 2018-2020. It funds community health centers. The bill cuts the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which helps fund the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The bill is nowhere near as extensive as the full-repeal plan or the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). But it would seek to alter the much-criticized mandates that Republicans have targeted for years.
The Congressional Budget Office scored the Health Care Freedom Act on Thursday and found that it would leave 16 million more Americans without health insurance. Premiums would increase by 20% every year until 2026.
The bill would also impact people on Medicaid. Of the 16 million more Americans without insurance by 2026, 7 million of those would be those previously covered by Medicaid. From 2017 to 2026, the bill would cut a total $235 billion from Medicaid.
The American Medical Association came out against the HCFA on Thursday, calling it a “toxic prescription.”
“Action is needed to address problems in the individual insurance market, but the so-called ‘skinny’ bill is a toxic prescription that would make matters worse,” AMA president Dr. David Barbe said in a statement. “Eliminating the individual mandate will lead to adverse selection, triggering higher premiums and further destabilizing the individual market. The stated goal was to advance policies to lower premiums, but the ‘skinny’ bill would do the exact opposite, harming patients across the country.”