President Trump said he'd be "very angry" if senators fail to repeal ObamaCare as promised, and GOP leaders have just taken a step in their quest to quell that anger. The second draft of the Better Care Reconciliation Act was released on Thursday with revisions aimed at getting 50 of the Senate's 52 GOP votes. The Congressional Budget Office should score the bill early next week, and next week should also see a vote. The Hill's take: "Overall, [Mitch] McConnell appears to have shifted the revised bill toward the conservatives, without giving the moderates much of what they want." The AP sees "only modest departures" from the original. Indeed, Medicaid cuts are mostly unchanged, to the likely displeasure of moderates. This means the funding that 31 states have used to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare ends in 2024, and further cuts follow the next year. Five things that were changed:
- Ted Cruz's amendment appears, sort of. He, along with Sen. Mike Lee, proposed allowing insurers to offer bare-bones plans as long as those insurers also sell at least one policy that conforms to ObamaCare requirements. What's included is based on their version, though the AP notes it appears in brackets, meaning the language hasn't been finalized.
- The "stability fund" grows from $112 billion to $182 billion. This is the money states could dole out to help tamp down premiums and other costs.
- Opioids get more funding, to the tune of $45 billion, up from the $2 billion in version one.
- Two ObamaCare taxes on the wealthy are back. Currently, families earning more than $250,000 a year see a 3.8% increase in their investment income tax and a 0.9% bump in their payroll tax. The taxes had been removed in version one.
- Premiums could be paid for using money from pre-tax health savings accounts, an approach conservatives favor.
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