Senate Releases Full Text Of "Skinny" Obamacare Repeal Bill, Vote Expected After Midnight

With the Senate healthcare vote expected sometime between midnight and 2am, moments ago the full text of the Senate "Skinny" bill which may or may not pass, has been released. Here is the summary version of what is hereby known as the "The Health Care Freedom Act":

  • REPEAL THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE — Obamacare's individual mandate forced the American people to purchase insurance they frequently didn't want, couldn't afford or actually use. This plan permanently protects Americans from this onerous mandate.
  • REPEAL THE EMPLOYER MANDATE — Obamacare's employer mandate too often forced job creators to forgo hiring new workers or keep an employee's hours low. This anti-jobs mandate is repealed for eight years, which provides employers a greater incentive to hire more employees.
  • PROVIDE FLEXIBILITY TO STATES (1332 WAIVERS)— States can access additional flexibility to use waivers that exist in current law to provide more options for consumers to buy the health insurance they want. It also allows the Department of Health and Human Services to approve waivers faster.
  • INCREASE HSA CONTRIBUTIONS — Increase contribution limits to tax-free Health Savings Accounts for three years to help pay for out-of-pocket health costs and expensive prescription medications.
  • REPEAL THE MEDICAL DEVICE TAX — Both Democrats and Republicans have opposed this tax on medical innovation. The legislation repeals this tax for three years.
  • FUND COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS — Prioritize health funding for Community Health Centers across the country.

The full bill also includes a provision for defunding Planned Parenthood, which is the reason for the community health center language.

As the NYT reports, after three days of debate, Republican leaders had little to show for it and were struggling to devise even a stripped-down plan on which at least 50 of the 52 Senate Republicans could agree. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was doing whatever he could to secure votes and win Senate approval on Friday for a bill that would repeal at least a few provisions of the Affordable Care Act. That raised the spectacle of senators pressed by their leaders to vote on legislation that some of them despise, with a promise that a “yes” would not really be approval, just a vote to start House-Senate negotiations on something better.

Senators Lindsey Graham South Carolina, John McCain of Arizona and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, all Republicans, simply demanded ironclad assurances from House leaders that the bill would not be enacted.

“I’m not going to vote for a bill that is terrible policy and horrible politics just because we have to get something done,” Mr. Graham said, calling the stripped-down bill a “disaster” and a “fraud” as a replacement for the health law.

Five GOP senators,  Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), David Perdue (Ga.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mike Rounds (S.D.) and Ted Cruz (Texas), spoke with Ryan via phone in Sen. John Cornyn's leadership office outside of the Senate floor. 

"Yes, he said, listen why would we want to own a bill that increases premiums and doesn't fix ObamaCare — that's all I wanted to hear from him," Graham told reporters when asked if Ryan guaranteed the House wouldn't pass a paired down Senate repeal bill.

Pressed if he would vote "yes" on the Senate GOP healthcare bill after his conversation with Ryan, Graham said he would. Johnson added that "of course" the talk with Ryan was enough to assuage his concerns.  "We just wanted to hear it right from Paul. ... We got that assurance. He said we could tell you — this is going to go to conference," the conservative GOP senator said.

 

Johnson added that any bill that passes the Senate "will not pass the House. This will go to conference. ... That's what we got." Johnson and Graham, as well as GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.) and John McCain (Ariz.),  warned earlier Thursday that they could not support moving forward with a "skinny" repeal bill until they got a guarantee that the House would not leapfrog a conference with Senate and pass the bill.

 

Paul issued a statement saying the House was "willing" to go to conference on the healthcare bills, but that it was up to Senate Republicans to first show they could pass a bill. 

 

McCain told reporters while heading into the Senate chamber for a pair of votes that Ryan's statement wasn't sufficient. He then appeared to walk that back slightly, telling Bloomberg that he declined to say how he would vote, saying he wanted to talk to his state's governor.

Earlier, Sen, Shelley Moore Capito told reporters while leaving the GOP caucus room that she "didn't know how to interpret" Ryan's statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will need 50 of 52 GOP senators to support the "skinny" repeal proposal, which he unveiled on the Senate floor on Thursday night

Some further observations on the bill from Politico's Burgess Everett (via Twitter):

  • McConnell says the bill "restores freedom to Americans, that Obamacare took away."
  • McConnell is selling the skinny bill as good policy and also as a path to conference.
  • This bill was not designed for Collins and Murkowski, so GOP looking for everyone that voted to open debate to support the skinny bill.
  • Murphy: "This is nuclear grade bonkers what is happening here"

Some more from NBC's Frank Thorp (via Twitter):

  • Sen Rounds on mtg with @SpeakerRyan: "He acknowledged that this particular bill was designed to get us to conference..."
  • More Rounds: "(@SpeakerRyan) said we will bring it to conference. And we asked, can we say that publicly, and he said, yes."
  • Sen Rounds: "(Speaker Ryan) has given us about as good of an assurance as you can get that he intends to send this to conference."
  • The vote series including the vote on the 'skinny repeal' bill is expected to happen around midnight tonight.

Having been written off earlier, it increasingly looks as if the bill may just have enough support to pass, with the tie-breaking vote from Mike Pence who is expected to be present for a potential vote later.

The full text of the pared-down "skinny bill" is below (link):

Comments

philipat ACP Fri, 07/28/2017 - 03:56 Permalink

Either repeal the fucking thing NOW and IN FULL with NO delays for any of it (It has been reported that there are attempts to sneak in a 2-year delay to implementation), or leave it alone to collapse under its own stupidity. Anything other means the Repugs take ownership and will be blamed for causing the "Uncertainty" which "resulted in its failure". And will be blamed for such failure. I honestly don't see why Trump is wasting so much political capital by trying to timker around at the edges when all he had to do was just leave it alone to collapse all by itself, which could then clearly be attributed to the original Obama "You have to pass it to see what's in it" legislation.

In reply to by ACP

ebworthen Thu, 07/27/2017 - 22:31 Permalink

Reapeal the onerous and un-constitutional individual mandate!A monopoly mandate for insurance company and corporate money grubbers if ever there was one.

Mini-Me Thu, 07/27/2017 - 22:32 Permalink

I've got an even skinnier version.  It goes like this: "The Affordable Care Act is hereby repealed." Then Congress gets out of the fucking way.  Simple.

NoDebt Thu, 07/27/2017 - 22:32 Permalink

If you think I'm staying up for this, you're nuts.  I'm going to be around 12-1am and getting up at 5am, same as usual.  The world can keep on spinning without me 4-5 hours a day. 

oldguyonBMXbike (not verified) Thu, 07/27/2017 - 22:36 Permalink

I've been to the doctors twice in 20+ years and both times were absolutely unnecessary, I was just in a poor state at the time and they didn't really help me.   I guess, time was the answer.  My point is, my debt-to-society is so low, that I'm trying to take out a loan or something here...  I'm trying to be like Kanye begging Jeff Zuckjewburger. 

sheikurbootie Thu, 07/27/2017 - 22:41 Permalink

Too many liberals in Congress.  Nothing will ever get done.They'll soon learn not to piss off Trump and the People. He'll shut this motherfucker down and fire them all.  Imagine Congress' surprise when Trump refuses to raise the debt ceiling.  All government employees will be laid off.  Trump has already said he will NOT allow back pay during a shutdown.

Umh Thu, 07/27/2017 - 22:53 Permalink

Behind door number 2 we have the same old shit. If you open the other doors it will be the same old shit, duh. They will get flushed sooner or later and I hope I get to see.

williambanzai7 Thu, 07/27/2017 - 22:59 Permalink

Vote for a bill only with assurances it won't pass.

That's our government folks.

Well here is 2017 so far: 6 months of Russophobia and a Russian Sanctions Act waiting to be signed...

And the retards wonder why the electorate is pissed as shit.

oldguyonBMXbike (not verified) Thu, 07/27/2017 - 23:09 Permalink

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:  ALL OF YOUR LEADERS ARE PEDOPHILES! THAT IS ALL!

BouncingCat Thu, 07/27/2017 - 23:28 Permalink

Unfortunately, no matter what happens, the massive consolidation in the provider and medical products industries will not be easily undone.  They build massive monopolistic businesses and won't go quietly.Where does it say that insurance companies can't offer catastrophic only policies?  If the mandates are elimiated and those mandates related to PPACA compliant policies, then any and all forms of insurance can now be offered, it seems.

slightlyskeptical BouncingCat Fri, 07/28/2017 - 00:08 Permalink

Catastrophic care is really why insurance premiums are so high. Catastrophic care policies that max out at $20,000 in benfits will be cheaper, but few catastrpohic illnesses can be covered with $20,000. Most people who buy them don't realize how little protection they actually provide. One serious incident and you are bankrupt even with catastrophic insurance.

In reply to by BouncingCat

Trifecta Man Fri, 07/28/2017 - 00:02 Permalink

Get government out of healthcare!  We want total freedom of choice!  You guys will just screw everything up again!  The free market will lower costs.  Get rid of bought-off FDA.  Stop poisoning our food,  Stop polluting.  Repeal!

WorkingClassMan Fri, 07/28/2017 - 00:24 Permalink

What are we going to go back to?  The insurance scumpanies wirh recissions?  With wholesale dropping of people's applications through "pre existing conditions" clauses? Break insurance away from the employers and businesses.  They don't want the regulations, the costs and the headaches.  And employees don't need their necks tied to the millstone of corporate hell, either.  Give the people basic care, catastrophic care.  It can be paid for by denying illegals, cutting Welfare abusers, and stopping care to criminals who have a violent record unless they or their family can pay.If you wanna buy more, you can, much like Supplemental Insurance today. And another thing...force the political whores in DC to have the exact same coverage the PEOPLE have. 

AGuy WorkingClassMan Fri, 07/28/2017 - 02:04 Permalink

"With wholesale dropping of people's applications through "pre existing conditions" clauses? "

Obozocare didn't solve that. All Insurance companies do is jack up the premiums, When people gettiing cancer treatment were rolled into obozocare, their premiums jump to $20K/mo. if you have any long term care issue, they can't drop you, but they can and will increase your premiums to match our medical costs.

Under the old system, they could increase premiums if you got sick. The deductibles were tiny and they usually had a max payout of $15M for medical services & meds. All that is gone.

The Only people that benefit are those that never paid into the system and live on gov't welfare. They don't have to pay a dime. The working class pays for their healthcare.

The only way to come out winning is to drop out the the laborforce and start collecting welfare. Thats why there is about 95M americans out of the laborforce.

In reply to by WorkingClassMan

Yen Cross Fri, 07/28/2017 - 01:24 Permalink

  If that GDP print comes in good in several hours, the $usd is going to rocket higher.   The euro looks like it's hanging off a cliff, and usd/chf has rocketed up 200+ pips in 24 hours. Major bullish engulfing candle on the weekly charts.