HealthBeat

HealthBeat

Senate Republicans’ health care bill, take two

Senate Republicans on Thursday introduced a revised version of their Obamacare replacement bill.

And Senate Democrats from Washington were quick to pounce.

“Well, if President Trump called the House bill ‘mean’ in a rare moment of honesty – can you imagine what he is going to say about this new Senate bill?,” said Sen. Patty Murray in a press conference.

Murray, top Democrat on the Senate health committee, slammed the new bill as “even worse” than the first draft – even “meaner.”

“They did nothing to address the concerns that even many Republicans — governors, Senators, and so many others — had about the massive cuts to Medicaid that would be devastating to patients and states,” Murray said. “They did nothing to truly address the defunding of Planned Parenthood and cutting off access to care for millions of women.”

“They did nothing to truly address how this bill would devastate our efforts to combat the opioid crisis — despite trying to hide that fact by including a fund that one Republican governor said is like ‘spitting in the ocean,’” she said. “And when it comes to affordability and putting insurance companies back in charge, Republican leaders not only didn’t fix the problems — they made them a whole lot worse.”

Sen. Maria Cantwell delivered a speech on the Senate floor to oppose the latest version of the bill. She called out the “junk plans” that wouldn’t cover essential health benefits that the new bill would allow insurers’ to sell.

“The state of Washington tried this … a group of state legislators allowed these junk plans to be sold along with compliant plans,” Cantwell said. “Guess what happened? Nearly all of the insurers in our state pulled out of the individual insurance market and a death spiral ensued. Why? Because the cost then of that individual market was so high and so great, they couldn’t service it.”

“So it turns out that these junk plans, as I said, don’t even count as insurance,” she said, “and everybody that’s in the real insurance market would then end up having to pay more.”

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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