Senate Republicans Reveal New “Obamacare-Lite” Healthcare Bill

This article comes from zerohedge.com

In what could very well end up being just another exercise in futility, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has just released a new version of a healthcare plan which, among other things, incorporates demands from Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) to allow insurers to sell low-cost, skimpier plans all in an effort to draw conservative support for the new bill.

Called the “Consumer Freedom Amendment,” we highlighted the main points of the Cruz/Lee proposal last month:

The “Consumer Freedom Amendment” would leave existing ObamaCare plans on the individual market, while also allowing insurers to sell plans that don’t comply with requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

“What that does — it leaves existing plans on the market but it gives new options so that people can purchase far more affordable health insurance. It will enable a lot more people to be able to afford buying health insurance,” Cruz told The Hill on Thursday afternoon.

Cruz’s amendment would allow insurers to continue offering plans that follow ObamaCare’s “Title One” requirements, including essential health benefits, which mandates 10 services insurers must cover with no cost-sharing.

But insurers could also sell skimpier, cheaper plans that don’t cover those 10 services or meet other ObamaCare requirements.

“If a health insurer offers a plan consistent with the Title One mandates, insurers can also sell in that same state any other plans that consumers desire,” Cruz said.

Of course, with precious little votes to spare, McConnell’s new bill has plenty of handouts for moderate Republicans as well. The rewritten package would add $70 billion to the $112 billion McConnell originally sought that states could use to help insurers curb the growth of premiums and consumers’ other out-of-pocket costs. It also has $45 billion for states to combat the misuse of drugs like opioids. That’s a big boost from the $2 billion in the initial bill and an addition demanded by Republicans from states in the Midwest and Northeast that have been ravaged by the drugs.

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