WASHINGTON – Senate Republican leadership rolled out an updated version of its health care bill Thursday that omitted changes to proposed Medicaid cuts, while preserving ObamaCare taxes on high-income earners and providing $45 billion to combat the national opioid crisis.
The tweaked legislation is the product of weeks of negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and conservative and moderate holdouts who opposed the initial GOP health care bill for myriad reasons.
Updates to the bill include an additional $70 billion to help states drive down premiums and other health care-related costs; a measure that will allow individuals to use health savings accounts to pay for their insurance premiums; expanded options for Americans to purchase plans that lower out-of-pocket costs; and a reinsurance fund to help subsidize the costs of covering sicker Obamacare enrollees.
Some conservatives have already said they won;t support the updated legislation. But the inclusion of an amendment proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) could bring them back into the fold.
That amendment would allow insurers to offer alternative plans that to do not comply with Obamacare regulations, something that could further destabilize the individual market and undermine protections for individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, according to some health care experts.