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Senate Healthcare Bill Keeps Coverage Cuts Backed by Issa and Hunter

The healthcare bill revealed by Senate Republicans today contains drastic cuts similar to the bill that passed last month in the House of Representatives, which local Reps. Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter voted to support. 

The Senate bill -- which aims to overhaul one-sixth of the U.S. economy -- was crafted in secrecy and is being rushed through to a vote. Like the House version, it would increase costs for consumers, reduce the benefits that are guaranteed in all healthcare plans, and give hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthy and insurance companies.

“Let’s call this despicable bill what it is: a massive tax cut for the rich paid for by the middle class and harming women, children, and elderly Americans,” said Jessica Hayes, Chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party.

“Republican politicians are once again putting the their deep-pocketed donors in the 1% ahead of the American people’s serious need for affordable healthcare. Shame on any member of Congress who supports this plan.”

Here are some of the key changes in the so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017:

  • It eliminates hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes on the wealthy and the health industry, which currently help subsidize coverage for tens of millions of people.
  • It would phase out Obamacare's Medicaid expansion and make deep long-term cuts to the program that assists low-income families.
  • Insurers would be able to charge older customers up to five times more than they charge younger customers.
  • To qualify for existing tax credits, people would need to be lower-income, which would greatly increase costs for middle-class families.

States would be able to change what qualifies as an “essential health benefit,” allowing cuts to coverage for conditions ranging from diabetes and high blood pressure to substance addiction and mental health.