Republicans release draft health care bill

It's not the opposition itself that has caught political analysts' attention, but the fact that is coming from both moderate and some conservative Republicans. "And policies contained in the discussion draft will repeal the individual mandates so Americans are no longer forced to buy insurance they don't need or can't afford", McConnell said. Under Obamacare, those between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level were eligible for tax credits.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that President Donald Trump "is pleased to see the process moving forward swiftly in Congress, and he looks forward to seeing a finalised bill on his desk". A tax on high-cost employer health plans, established under Obamacare, but yet to kick in, would be imposed beginning in 2026.

Olson said the move shifts more risk to states and may prompt them to rethink who is eligible to receive care under Medicaid, putting coverage for low-income and elderly Wisconsinites at risk. Older people under 65 years old would pay five five times as much for coverage than younger people, compared to the current 3-to-1 ratio. The federal government pays at least 90 per cent of the costs for newly eligible beneficiaries. A number of states, including SC, declined to expand Medicaid to provide Obamacare to a larger clientele. Medicaid clearly is in the sights of Republicans, though they claim of course that their plans will pump money into insurance to "stabilize" the market and help the uninsured.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the bill would hurt children by scaling back Medicaid.

"That should be the central issue for Republicans", Cruz added, "repealing Obamacare and making healthcare more affordable". This long-awaited proposal marks a big step toward achieving one of the Republican Party's major goals - reversing a key part of President Obama's legacy.

Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage.

McConnell and other Republicans are obsessed with Obamacare, the courageous, successful and signature accomplishment of former President Barack Obama, and so they talk more, almost, about how bad the former president's plan was than they do about the virtues of their own plans - the House and the just-unveiled Senate versions are similar. They know the risks, but there is a broader calculation that they've made that doing absolutely nothing would be much more politically harmful than keeping their promise to repeal Obamacare. The bill also prohibits people from using tax credits to purchase plans that offer coverage for abortion services. Avik Roy is a physician and founder of the conservative Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity. He and others said the measure would make health insurance more affordable and eliminate Obama coverage requirements that some people find onerous.

AVIK ROY: The bill will encourage a lot more of those individuals to buy health insurance.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., released a statement Thursday saying even with the latest changes, the bill still was a bad deal for West Virginia. "People will die", Warren said.

OBAMACARE - Requires insurers to cover people regardless of pre-existing medical conditions and bars them from setting prices based on a person's health history.

West Virginians for Affordable Health Care executive director Chantal Fields called the Senate draft "a disaster waiting to happen".

SENATE BILL - Allows the 31 states that expanded Medicaid to continue getting federal funding through 2023, with reduced funding starting in 2021.

Ryan said he would not "armchair quarterback" the Senate process because Senate leaders didn't do that during hard negotiations in the House.

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey is one of 13 senators who crafted it in secret and protesters want him to hear their concerns.

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