DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - The latest Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is being shunned by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. The Michigan Democrat believes the Senate bill would cut coverage while increasing costs.
"This bill is exactly the opposite of what the President said," Stabenow told WWJ. "After the House passed a very similar bill he called it mean and unfortunately the Senate bill is even meaner."
The proposal released Thursday calls for a slower phase-out of the Medicaid expansion than a bill adopted earlier by the House. Yet it still would force those states to figure out what to do about the millions of lower-income Americans who used it to gain health coverage.
The doubts about the latest plan from Washington came from Republicans, Democrats and the nation's one independent governor.
Part of the Obama law was an offer to the states: If they would expand Medicaid, a joint federal-state insurance program for low-income people, to able-bodied adults without children at home, the federal government would pick up the entire tab in the initial years. The federal share drops to 90 percent after 2020.
The expansion has provided coverage to 11 million people in the 31 states that accepted it.
The Senate bill calls for phasing out the enhanced federal support for the expansion by 2024. The House calls for doing it by 2020.
In both plans, states could keep coverage for the newly eligible adults, but federal taxpayers would not continue to pay a larger share of the bill. The Senate bill also calls for a tighter cap on federal spending in Medicaid overall than the House bill did. Currently, there is no limit on how much the program will pay for care for those enrolled.
"Bottom line everybody costs are going to go up, health care coverage is going to go down," Stabenow said. "To add insult to injury all the money saved is going to go to a tax cut for insurance companies, drug companies and the very wealthiest Americans. So it's not what I view as American value, certainly not Michigan values."
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has a challenge on unifying his party to successfully repeal the Affordable Care Act. As five conservatives are currently against the bill. Two of those votes are needed for the bill to pass.
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