Minnesota Senators Find Unlikely Alliance With GOP Members Over Health Care

Republicans rolled out a new version of the American Health Care Act, much to the chagrin of Senators on both sides of the aisle.

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Image Credit: U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON — Republican Senators released their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) Thursday morning.

According to The Atlantic

“Like the version passed through the House to cheers in May, it is likely to make health care less affordable for low-income, sick, and near-elderly people; it makes Obamacare tax credits for exchange coverage less generous; it restricts and slashes Medicaid funding deeply over the next decade; and it attempts to smooth euphemistically-named ‘market disruptions’ from all those reforms by injecting billions into state funds and reinsurance.”

When the AHCA passed through the House of Representatives earlier in May, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told TIME Magazine, “It will be a real big challenge on the Senate side” to pass the House version of health care.

The Hill reported in May that Senate Republicans were adamant that any bill that entered its chamber go through serious change.

Minnesota leaders in the Senate were very unhappy with the rollout of the new bill.

“After weeks spent in secret, behind closed doors, Senate Republicans have finally released their health care plan,” Sen. Al Franken stated in a press release. “As expected, the bill does not address the real health care issues that people are facing and would be a disaster for the economic stability and livelihood of Minnesota families. This is nothing more than a thinly disguised attempt to gift billions of dollars in tax breaks to the very richest few Americans by dismantling our health care system, fundamentally destroying Medicaid as we know it, and making life harder and more expensive for millions and millions of Americans. Like its sibling in the House of Representatives, this is a horrible plan born of a dangerously partisan bill-making process.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar shared similar sentiments with her colleague. “Just got off the Senate floor, where I spoke about the Senate Republican healthcare bill. Now that we’ve finally seen the bill, we know that it’s similar to the House version — which the President called ‘mean,’” Klobuchar wrote in a Facebook post. “Millions of Americans would lose their health insurance or have to spend much more out-of-pocket for the care and treatments they need. It’s no wonder that we’ve already heard concerns from both sides of the aisle, and it’s also been opposed by senior groups. We should be working together to improve our healthcare system, including strengthening the exchanges, bringing down prescription drug prices, and helping small businesses.”

Klobuchar and Franken have found four Republican Senators who have joined their ranks in opposing the new bill. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have stated that they will not support the current legislation telling CNN, “Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but are open to negotiations and obtaining more information before it’s brought to the floor.”

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