Economist's Insights

Senate Republicans Release their Plan for Health Care Reform

Jun 22, 2017

Early headlines on the Senate’s health care reform proposal focused on a handful of themes from the 142-page document. The highlights most talked about were (1) the repeal of the individual and employer mandates, (2) the repeal of key taxes implemented by the ACA, (3) suspension of the ACA’s Cadillac tax through 2025, (4) protection of pre-existing conditions (no waiver option for states), (5) option for state waiver of essential health benefit coverage, (6) continuation of low-income tax credits but tighter eligibility requirements, (7) cost sharing reduction subsidies kept through 2019, (8) Medicaid expansion rolled back more slowly than in the House bill but more deeply when full phased in, and (9) Federal funding to help stabilize individual marketplaces over the next four years. Shortly after the bill was released, the CBO said they should have the Senate bill scored early next week which would allow Sen. McConnell to hold a vote before the weekend. With Republicans forced to use the reconciliation process – requires just 50 yay’s and a tie-break from VP Pence – McConnell can only afford to lose 2 Republican votes (assuming no Democrats support the bill). So far, four of the most conservative Republican Senators have publicly stated they currently won’t support the bill as-is.