Senate GOP releases bill to cut Medicaid, alter 'Obamacare'

Republican leaders plan to release the text of what they're calling a "discussion draft" on Thursday morning. The Senate bill also proposes eliminating many ACA taxes, and the employer penalties associated with the employer and individual mandates would be repealed retroactively, dating back to the start of 2016.

Adopts the House plan for a per capita cap on Medicaid spending, and in 2025 shifts the growth in spending away from the consumer price index for medical care to the lower CPI for all goods, which could result in significantly smaller annual federal funding increases to account for inflation. The tax, affecting high-income Americans and imposed to help pay for Obamacare, has been a key target for Republicans. GOP lawmakers can not outright abolish the mandate because they are trying to pass their bill under a special budget process to avoid a possible filibuster.

One report that will inform Senate Republicans as they decide whether to support the bill will be a score from the Congressional Budget Office, expected to come out in the coming days. But with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushing for a vote on this before the July 4th recess, that time is running out.

Republican senators are hoping to secure the 50 votes required to push through the measure, before sending it back to the House for approval of the new draft. With only a week until the Senate vote and no committee evaluations, the heat is on to either pass or kill the plan.

"Before passing a massive bill that will affect the lives of every single American, there ought to be a rigorous and robust debate on the floor", Schumer said in a statement.

McConnell is also offering moderates an approach to Medicaid he hopes will be more politically palatable to them.

McConnell's decision to keep the details tightly under wraps until Thursday was intentional and aimed at winning over his colleagues out of the public spotlight, but the secretive process has infuriated Democrats - and aggravated plenty of Republicans, too.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY and other Democratic leaders began a series of procedural requests to slow down consideration of the legislation, a discussion draft of which posted shortly before the Senate convened.

The measure would preserve two of the ACA's most-popular provisions: insurers could not deny coverage based on preexisting conditions and children may stay on their parents' plans until the age of 26.

"It's going to be important to get the president's support to get us across the finish line", No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas said Wednesday of White House officials.

The bill would provide tax credits to help people buy insurance. Republicans may later decide to let insurers in deregulated states sell policies nationwide-meaning that firms in states that kept to the rules would quickly lose healthy customers to cheaper, deregulated providers.

The Senate bill tries to fix that problem - sort of.

Senate Republicans unveiled their long-awaited health care overhaul proposal on Thursday. Medicaid provides health care not only to the poor, but also to elderly and disabled Americans, who account for 60 percent of the cost.

One other big change this bill could make is creating a new system for who gets premium tax credits, and how big those premiums are. And insurers and hospital stocks showed the gains to prove that in the moments after the Senate plan was released.

Appearing on the Senate floor shortly after the draft's text went online, McConnell listed some general Republican policy goals such as eliminating mandates, cutting taxes, and strengthening affordability.