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Will the Senate’s health care proposal sway key Republicans?

June 21, 2017 at 6:50 PM EDT
Republican Senate leaders plan to release their proposal for health care on Thursday after weeks of work behind closed doors. The Washington Post reported a draft largely mirrors the House version, but with some notable changes. Hari Sreenivasan learns more from Lisa Desjardins.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: We are now on the eve of seeing a Senate proposal for health care, including replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Republican leaders plan to release their bill tomorrow, after working on it behind closed doors for weeks. Late today, The Washington Post reported a draft bill largely mirrors the House’s version, but with some notable changes. It will end Medicaid expansion more gradually, but cut it deeply in the long term. It also removes language that restricts federally subsidized health plans from covering abortions.

Lisa Desjardins joins me now.

Lisa, considering the process here, tomorrow’s going to be an unveiling of this draft, not just to the public, but even to a lot of Republicans.

LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. Most Republican senators have not seen the language yet, Hari.

They tell me that they will see it tomorrow around 9:30 a.m. Eastern time. That’s when Republican senators will gather for this exact reason. When will we see it? When will the public see it? Republicans tell me that is at the same time, 9:30 a.m. Eastern, online. Not clear exactly where yet.

Hari, even as we wait for the exact bill, today, we’re hearing from some key senators that they have alarm bells ringing in their heads. Remember, Republicans can only lose two Republican senators and still have this bill pass. Well, today, Rand Paul told me he sees what he hears as Obamacare-lite.

And another senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, told me he’s concerned. He asked for more time to review this bill. He said a vote next week, as is planned, is too soon. He said he’s not getting more time and he’s not sure he can get to yes without it.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Speaking of health care, today was also an important day, a deadline for insurance companies to figure out whether they were going to participate in some of the exchanges or not.

LISA DESJARDINS: This is critical for what kind of options people will have on the individual markets.

And so far, today, Hari, we have learned some news from some insurers pulling out of markets, in fact, Anthem and Blue Cross/Blue Shield pulling out of markets in Wisconsin and Indiana.

But it’s really a mixed story, Hari, because we’re also seeing new insurers enter in places like Tennessee, which will have three more options for insurance than it did last year. And also I spoke to a company called Medica. They plan on offering insurance throughout Iowa. That will be new for them this year, adding another option for Iowans.

But here’s comes the catch, Hari, in a way. Medica says, to do that, they’re planning to increase premiums by 43 percent. So we will get more news here, but it’s a really mixed picture, all of these insurers saying there’s instability in the market.

HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Lisa Desjardins joining us from Capitol Hill, many thanks.

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