Senate Expected to Give House Health Care Plan the Cold Shoulder

Upper chamber will write its own bill

Republican senators plan to write a health care bill that could be radically different from the one passed last week by the House, according to a Bloomberg report. The Senate’s approach is likely to result in legislation that doesn’t fully repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, despite repeated promises from President Trump and House Republicans.

“The Senate is starting from scratch,” Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “We’re going to draft our own bill, and I’m convinced that we’re going to take the time to do it right.”

Collins, a moderate, said one of the major goals is to ensure that people with pre-existing medical conditions continue to have the same or better coverage.

While the House bill requires states to provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, that coverage might not be affordable, Collins said. “So much discretion is given to the states without any guardrails,” she commented.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Michigan) said that the House added money for tax credits to the bill to help people 50 years of age and older pay for coverage, and that he expects the Senate will add to those tax credits and “complete the job.”

Collins, however, noted that the credits aren't adjusted for variations in income and geographic regions across the U.S. That “really hurts a state like Maine, where we have an older population” living in rural areas where health care is more expensive, she said.

Collins also said she’d like to see a bipartisan group in the Senate working on a bill, with Democrats acknowledging that the PPACA has problems and Republicans making sure coverage is not reduced.

Source: Bloomberg Politics; May 7, 2017.