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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

After working for weeks in secret to revise the House’s health care bill, Senate Republicans unveiled the Better Care Reconciliation Act Thursday—a 142-page document maintaining the same multi-billion dollar cuts to Medicaid as its earlier iteration.

“[Senate Republicans] worked really, really hard on [this bill] and it’s pretty clear now exactly who they were working for,” remarked Massachusettes Senator Elizabeth Warren on Thursday. “[And it’s] not American families.”

“The Senate bill is crammed full with just as many tax cuts as the House bill; tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, tax cuts for wealthy investors, tax cuts for giant companies, but all those tax cuts don’t come cheap,” she continued. “Senate Republicans had to make a choice how to pay for all those juicy tax cuts for their rich buddies. I’ll tell you how—in blood money.”

According to Caroline Pearson, a senior vice president of the health care consulting firm Avalare Health, “unlike the House bill, which bases its subsidies for private insurance on age, the Senate bill uses age and income. That focuses financial assistance on people with lower incomes.”

But under Obamacare, she explains, “many of those people would have gotten much more generous plans.”

The new bill will let states use waivers to ignore some coverage requirements, although coverage will be less affordable overall.

“I don’t know if the Republicans were expecting a round of applause for pitting kids with breathing tubes against vulnerable seniors or someone needing treatment for addiction, but I do know this so-called ‘exemption’ won’t do a thing to help these kids,” continued Warren. “The Republican cuts still slash hundreds of billions of dollars for Medicaid leaving states with no choice… but to cut services.”

One in five Americans is now on Medicaid, largely due to expansions under Obamacare.

“These cuts are blood money,” Warren reiterated. “People will die.”

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.