After the American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed the House in early May, there was a lot of talk from many in the Senate on how they would “start from scratch” to build a much better and more popular bill. Well, after a thirteen member all-male group of Senators held weeks of secret meetings – blocking the majority of Senators and the public from seeing what was being discussed – they finally unveiled a slightly revised bill that essentially contains the same harmful impacts as the House bill.
A couple of weeks ago, President Trump commented that the Senate should develop a bill that is not as “mean” as the one approved by the House, and we hoped his prodding might produce some positive changes in the Senate version. Unfortunately, the Senators in those closed-door meetings did not take that advice to heart. In fact, the Senate bill will be even worse for Wisconsin children, parents, and people with disabilities because it makes even deeper cuts to Medicaid.
Sometime next week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release a report that estimates how much the new bill will cut from Medicaid, how many people are going to be added to the ranks of the uninsured, and how it affects people purchasing insurance in the individual market. Until Senators and their constituents have had at least a couple of weeks to study the bill and the CBO analysis, and how it could be amended to avoid such negative consequences, the bill should not be brought to a vote on the Senate floor.
Sashi Gregory and Jon Peacock