WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — Senate Republicans unveiled a 142-page draft bill Thursday to repeal and replace the Obama health care law.
The plan will eliminate the individual mandate which forces people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.
It will also tie tax credits that help pay for coverage to income, age and geography, as well as remove taxes put in place under the Affordable Care Act.
The Senate bill cuts back an expansion of Medicaid, but keeps more protections for people with pre-existing conditions, CBS News reported.
It will also allow states to change what qualifies as an essential health benefit.
“Republicans believe we have a responsibility to act and we are,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “Because Obamacare is a direct attack on the middle-class and American families deserve better than its failing status quo.”
It’s called a “discussion draft” because they can still make changes to it in order to get the votes needed to pass.
“Obviously, we need to get 50 plus one,” Cornyn said.
But getting to 50 plus one will be tough. Debate on the Senate floor immediately became heated Thursday.
“Let us right now, Democrats and Republicans, sit down and try to come up with a bipartisan bill. We’re willing to do it today, now, this minute,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “Will you accept that offer?”
“If I thought that was sincere offer, I would take it in a minute. In a New York minute!” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said. “But it’s not.”
“What is being talked about here is like having a hole in a the roof of your house. Instead of patching it, they want to burn down the house,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) said.
“I would suggest to the senator from Michigan that it is the Democrats under Obamacare who burned down the house, because the individual market for health care has been decimated,” Cornyn replied.
“You can put a lace collar on a pitbull, and it is still mean,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) added.
Some moderate Republicans oppose the Medicaid cuts while conservatives oppose the subsidies which help people buy insurance.
At least four Republican senators oppose the measure, but say they’re open to negotiation, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported. If just three of the GOP senators oppose the plan, it fails.
“I’m a no on the bill currently,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said. “We want the bill to look more like a repeal. We’re afraid that when we read the bill it actually looks like a reiteration or keeping of Obamacare.”
“Ninety percent of the Obamacare subsidies remained in the House bill and they’ve been adding to them,” he added.
“This current draft doesn’t get the job done,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said.
As for how President Donald Trump feels about it, in an audio-only press briefing, Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called this a negotiation.
“He is going to continue that process with both House and Senate members and his administration until we get the best bill we can, and that will be the one that he signs,” she said.
Like the House version of the health care bill, the Senate measure would block federal payments to Planned Parenthood.
McConnell says he wants a vote on this bill before the Fourth of July, but he won’t get any support from Democrats who have been shut out of the process.
Both Republicans and Democrats have taken issue with the secrecy in which it was drafted, Gainer reported.
“This is a bill designed to strip away health care benefits and protections from Americans who need it most in order to give a tax break to the folks who need it least,” said Schumer, adding “surely we can do better.”
Some demonstrators had to be carried out by Capitol Hill police after protesting outside McConnell’s office.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office still needs to release its score showing how much the plan will cost and what kind of impact it will have.
Republican leaders say the CBO score could come as early as Friday, but Monday is more likely.
According to the CBO, the House version would cause 23 million people to lose coverage.