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Senate Republicans Unveil Revised Healthcare Bill

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In an effort to build enough support to open debate on the legislation, Senate Republicans have released a revised version of their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The new draft of the bill unveiled on Thursday includes a controversial amendment from Senator Ted Cruz, R-Tex., in order to attract support from more conservative lawmakers.

The amendment from Cruz would allow insurers to offer cheaper plans that don't meet Obamacare's requirements as long as they also offer at least one Obamacare-compliant plan.

While the amendment may garner support from conservatives, moderates have raised concerns about its impact on protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

The revised version of the bill maintains two Obamacare taxes on the wealthy but still repeals a medical device tax as well as the penalties on individuals that do not purchase insurance.

The legislation includes more money for a state stabilization fund in an effort to curb skyrocketing premiums as well as $45 billion in funding for substance abuse treatment and recovery.

However, the bill still contains major cuts to Medicaid, which covers more than 70 million low-income Americans. Moderate Republicans have previously expressed concerns about the Medicaid cuts.

In a post to Twitter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., said the primary aim of the revised bill is to first stabilize and reform collapsing insurance markets.

"#BetterCare will give Americans more tools for managing their own #healthcare, not giving more power to the federal government," McConnell tweeted.

Republican Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he was encouraged by the direction of the bill and praised the GOP leadership for taking input as they crafted the legislation.

"As we debate the bill next week, every senator - on both sides of the aisle - will have the opportunity to offer amendments and have their voice heard," Corker said.

He added, "I am encouraged by the direction of the bill and am hopeful the final product will be one that works better for the American people than what is in place today."

However, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., was quick to criticize the revised bill, accusing Republicans of ignoring weeks of overwhelming public outcry.

"Trumpcare is still about raising health costs for middle-class families, giving tax breaks to special interests, and keeping the deep cuts to Medicaid that threaten vulnerable Americans across every generation," Wyden said.

He added, "By including the Cruz amendment, Senate Republicans are prescribing health care chaos by isolating Americans with pre-existing conditions and forcing them to pay astronomical costs to get the care they need."

The revisions are reportedly expected to allow the bill to clear a procedural hurdle to begin debate, although there is some skepticism about whether the legislation will receive a final vote.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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