Senate GOP Unveils Health Care Plan; Medicaid Expansion, Individual Mandate On Chopping Block

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says he and three other Republican senators are preparing to announced their opposition to the Senate health care bill as it’s written.

Their opposition puts the bill in jeopardy, since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can lose only two Republican senators and still pass the legislation.

Paul tells The Associated Press in an interview that the bill released Thursday resembles “Obamacare” too closely and does not go far enough to repeal former President Barack Obama’s law.

Paul says that he and the other senators are “definitely open to negotiation” but that they need to make their opposition clear in order to ensure negotiations happen.

McConnell is pushing toward a vote next week but Paul’s stance throws that into question.

U.S. Capitol Police are arresting dozens of people who are protesting cuts to Medicaid in the Senate Republicans’ health care bill.

The protesters have filled a hallway in one of the Senate office buildings, outside the office of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Some of the protesters are being escorted individually. Others are much more reluctant to leave and it’s taking four or five officers to carry them out.

The protesters are yelling “no cuts to Medicaid” as they are being led away.

One protester says he’s with the disability rights group ADAPT. Phillip Corona says he traveled from Wisconsin to make his voice heard. Corona says Medicaid helps his son Anthony get out of bed every morning. Phillip Corona fears that changes to the program “would possibly mean putting him in a nursing home.”

Alison Barkoff — director of advocacy for the Center for Public Representation — helped organize the protest. She says the protesters rely on Medicaid to help them live and she says the health bill amounts to “tax cuts for the wealthy on the backs of people with disabilities.”

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders say the Republican Senate health care proposal is the “most harmful” piece of legislation he has ever seen.

In a statement, Sanders said the Republican health care proposal that was released Thursday has nothing to do with health care. Rather, he says it has “everything to do with an enormous transfer of wealth from working people to the richest Americans.”

The measure that would replace the Obama health care law would cut and revamp Medicaid, the health care program for lower-income and disabled people. It would repeal tax increases on higher-income people, medical companies and others that had financed expanded coverage. It would also end the tax penalty Obama’s statute imposes on people who don’t buy insurance.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

 

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