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This Week in Trumpcare

A quick, informative breakdown on the proposed changes to federal healthcare policy from the H*yas for Choice Board

What happened?

For the past several weeks, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has been drafting a health care bill completely behind closed doors. The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, meant to replace the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), is an amended version of the bill put forth in May by the House of Representatives, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). In addition to leaving a projected 54 million Americans without insurance over the next decade, the Senate’s bill will provide billions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthy and attempt to offset this loss in revenue by cutting health care benefits from women, low-income people, people of color, elderly people and people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. On Thursday, the text of McConnell’s secret bill was finally released, simultaneously to Congress and to the public.

What changes were included from AHCA to BCRA?

Like its House counterpart, the Better Care Reconciliation Act attempts to cut taxes on the country’s highest earners, those with annual incomes of $250,000 or more. In comparison with the previous version of the bill, however, the Senate’s proposed plan contains more drastic cuts to Medicaid over a longer period of time. At the time of the AHCA’s proposal, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that some 23 million Americans would lose their healthcare coverage under the House’s bill; current projections are even higher. And unlike the House bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act repeals the ACA’s individual mandate while making no attempt to replace it.

What are the key differences between Obamacare and the new plan?

House and Senate Republicans alike are working to, overall, cut healthcare spending – particularly to Medicaid, which allows low income people to access a variety of healthcare services at a reduced cost or with no cost at all. The ACA brought with it a number of taxes that helps the federal government to pay for these services; the new bill will seek to repeal most if not all of these taxes, including those on millionaires and billionaires. In short terms, the bill being considered by Congress repeals: