Seven weeks after the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, Senate Republicans unveiled their version of the health care bill Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky released a “discussion draft” at an all-members meeting at 9:30 a.m.
The bill’s release follows months of speculation and contentious debate. Ever the dominant issue, health care remains a critical focus for many, as worried Americans swarmed congressional town hall meetings in recent months to voice their outrage.
Some Republican representatives were willing to face their constituents on the issues, while others shunned the events. Senate Democrats have criticized their Republican counterparts for working on the bill behind closed doors.
Democrats have voiced pessimism about the substance of the bill. On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he agreed with President Donald Trump, who reportedly called the House bill “mean.”
McConnell has disagreed, saying, “It’s going to have a profound, positive improvement over the status quo. The status quo is simply unsustainable.”
But when ABC News’ Mary Bruce asked McConnell if Americans have a right to see the negotiations process, he did not provide an answer.
What does the bill look like?
The Senate bill would repeal the individual and employer mandates that require the purchase of insurance or face a penalty for not doing so. Unlike the House bill, however, it would not penalize people, via a surcharge, who let their coverage lapse.
It also provides tax credits to help individuals purchase insurance, but unlike the House bill, which linked the amount of the credits to age, the Senate bill considers income, age and geography.
The upper chamber’s draft would also keep the Obamacare-era Medicaid expansion intact until the end of 2020 and then gradually phase it out over four years before it arrives at the level of federal support all states were…