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Republican Senate health care bill just as bad as the House version

By Masao Suzuki

San José, CA – On Monday, June 26, the Congressional Budget Office or CBO released its analysis of the Senate Republicans’ bill meant to repeal the Affordable Care Act (the ACA, often called Obamacare). The Senate Republicans’ bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act or BCRA, would mean 22 million more people would go without health insurance as compared to the current law with the ACA at the end of ten years. 15 million people would lose their Medicaid coverage (called Medical in California; each state has its own name), a million more than under the House Republican bill known as the Health Care Reform Act or HCRA. 7 million more people would have to go without their individual insurance policies purchased on state exchanges, also a million more than the House Republican HCRA.

The Republican Senate bill would hit the working poor hard. Most workers with lower paying jobs don’t get health insurance from their employer, and must rely on Medicaid, buying their own insurance or simply doing without insurance. The working poor will also be hurt by the elimination in funding for Planned Parenthood, which offers low-cost health care to many women.

Many people who do manage to keep their health insurance will end up paying more through higher deductibles and/or having to pay more out of pocket. The Senate bill allows for insurance that doesn’t cover pregnancy, emergency room visits, and other services now mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

So who are the winners? The rich, of course, who won’t have a pay the Net Investment Income Tax or NIIT. This is a tax on high-income households that have large profits from the sale of land, stocks or other investment. They will save an estimated $172 billion over the next ten years. Bigger businesses will also no longer have to pay a fine for not providing health insurance for their workers, saving them $171 billion over the next ten years. Big health insurance companies that are raking in billions of dollars every year in profits will have an additional $145 billion in profits over ten years as their tax is canceled by the Senate Republican bill.

Doing the math, the rich and big businesses are gaining more than $20,000 in additional after-tax income and profits for every person who loses their health insurance over the next ten years. This is the reality of Republican rule: take from the poor and give to the rich and big business.

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