Today, Senate Republicans introduced their legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.
According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), the bill will eliminate Obamacare's taxes and eliminate the law's individual and employer mandates in an attempt to lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
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"It will eliminate costly Obamacare taxes that are passed on to consumers so we can put downward pressure on premiums," said McConnell. "We agreed on the need to free Americans from Obamacare's mandates, and policies contained in a discussion draft will repeal the individual mandate so Americans are no longer forced to buy insurance they don't need or can't afford."
"We will repeal the employer mandate so Americans no longer see their hours and take-home pay cut by employers because of it," he said. "We agreed on the need to improve the affordability of health insurance, and policies contained in the discussion draft will do that."
The bill will also expand tax-free health savings accounts and implement tax credits to lower the cost of health insurance. McConnell said this would allow individuals the flexibility to purchase the kind of insurance they want, instead of the type of insurance government mandates they buy. A long-term state innovation fund will be created with $62 billion in funding for eight years to help individuals purchase health insurance to make it more affordable.
The legislation will allow young adults to stay on their parents plan until 26 and will keep protections for those with preexisting conditions. The bill keeps Obamacare's 1332 waiver, which would allow states the flexibility to decide the rules of insurance.
In addition, the bill creates a short-term stabilization fund with funding of $15 billion a year in 2018 and 2019, and $10 billion in 2020 and 2021 to help individuals who may have no choice for coverage due to the increasing number of health insurers who are exiting from Obamacare.
"We agree on the need to stabilize the insurance markets that are collapsing under Obamacare as well, and policies contained in the discussion draft will implement stabilization policies so we can bring financial certainty to insurance markets and hope to Americans who face the possibility of limited or zero options next year under Obamacare," McConnell said.
McConnell said that the legislation also attempts to strengthen Medicaid by giving states flexibility and providing coverage to those who are most in need. Governors will be able to choose between per-capita support or a block grant for the Medicaid population in 2020 and will implement a work requirement for those seeking coverage.