How Senate, House Obamacare overhaul bills compare

(Reuters) – After weeks of discussions behind closed doors, the U.S. Senate unveiled a draft of its healthcare bill on Thursday that would overhaul the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

The House of Representatives narrowly passed its healthcare bill last month. If the Senate passes its bill, the House will either have to vote on the Senate version of the legislation or the two chambers will have to reconcile their differences in a conference committee.

Obamacare extended coverage to some 20 million additional Americans through both subsidized private insurance and an expansion of Medicaid. Since its passage in 2010, Republicans have campaigned on repealing the program and argued that the law is too costly and represents undue government interference in Americans’ healthcare.

Here is how the two bills compare on their main provisions:

MEDICAID

Under Obamacare, more than 30 states, including about a dozen states with Republican governors, expanded the Medicaid government health insurance program for the poor and disabled. Both bills would roll back the expansion and significantly overhaul the program, which provides insurance to nearly 70 million people.

SENATE: The draft legislation would phase out Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid over three years, from 2021 to 2024. It would then overhaul the program and reduce its federal funding more than the House bill would, beginning in 2025.

HOUSE: The bill would allow the Medicaid expansion to continue until Jan. 1, 2020. After that date, expansion would end, and people who enrolled in the expansion could not re-enroll once they leave. Medicaid funding would be capped on a per-person basis.

TAXES

SENATE: The bill would repeal most Obamacare taxes beginning after Dec. 31, 2016, including the 3.8 percent net investment income tax on wealthy Americans. The tax on branded prescription brands would be repealed in 2018, and the legislation would delay the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost employer-provided insurance.

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