Republicans have kept their elusive Senate healthcare bill a secret, but finally revealed their plan on Thursday. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants senators to vote on the bill next week before breaking for July 4, leaving little time for debate.
Before the actual proposal was released, 11 Republican senators voiced concerns about what it might include, according to The New York Times. The GOP can only afford for two of its members to vote against the bill and still have it pass (assuming all Democratic senate members will vote against it, which most pledged to and all are expected to), with Vice President Mike Pence assumedly acting as a tie breaker for the proposed law.
Ahead of the upcoming vote, expected to happen by June 30, let's take a look at how the Senate's healthcare bill compares to the House's.
Planned Parenthood & Abortion
House bill: It would withhold all federal funds from Medicaid reimbursements from Planned Parenthood for a year and prohibit federally subsidized health plans from covering abortions.
Senate bill: It would also keep all federal funds from Planned Parenthood for a single year, but wouldn't ban tax credits from being used on insurance plans that cover abortion procedures.Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) previously said she would try to remove language that strips Planned Parenthood of Medicaid reimbursements if it were included.
House bill: States could receive waivers allowing insurers to charge people with preexisting conditions more than others. The list of preexisting conditions is lengthy, and there were concerns that sexual assault could be classified as one. However, most states already prohibit insurers from discriminating against domestic violence and sexual assault victims.
Senate bill: This version has more protections, not allowing insurers to charge people with preexisting conditions higher premiums.
Essential Health Benefits
House bill: Similar to preexisting conditions, states could also get waivers to allow insurance providers to stop covering essential health benefits guaranteed coverage by Obamacare.
These benefits include: hospitalization; ambulatory patient services; emergency services; prescription drugs; laboratory services; mental health services; preventative care; pediatric care; rehabilitative services and devices; and pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.
Senate bill: States would also have the option to request waivers to not require coverage of essential health benefits.
House bill: The proposal aims to cut back on the Medicaid expansion started under Obamacare that allows people just above the poverty line to sign up for insurance.
Senate bill: Changes to Medicaid would happen more slowly under the Senate bill, beginning to diminish expansions in 2021 over a three-year period. However, this plan would lead to deeper cuts in Medicaid funding starting in 2025 by basing how much money states get on standard inflation rather than medical inflation.
Although a line stating that pregnant women wouldn't be eligible for Medicaid expansion raised fears that the bill aimed to exclude pregnant women from coverage, in reality it reiterates an Obamacare distinction which says pregnant women aren't included in the expansion because they're already eligible for Medicaid.
House bill: When initially approved, it included a provision exempting members of Congress from its provisions. But, a separate bill eliminating the exemption was approved in the House, making the AHCA apply to lawmakers.
Senate bill: It does not include an exemption.
If the Better Care Reconciliation Act passes in the Senate, it would still have to go back to the House for final approval before becoming law. The Senate is expected to hold a vote by next Friday.