Senate GOP debates ‘skinny’ Obamacare repeal

The Senate is in the middle of thick debate, struggling to pass any option for repealing or replacing the Affordable Care Act. After a proposal to only repeal the majority of the law failed Wednesday afternoon, the Republican leadership’s next move was to introduce a narrower repeal bill that would scrap just portions of the ACA.

This path is dubbed skinny repeal, since it would be limited in scope. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday night released the text of his pared-down bill, “The Health Care Freedom Act,” to repeal parts of the Afforable Care Act. A vote is slated for midnight tonight.

According to the text released, the bill would repeal the individual mandate for health insurance coverage, the crux of Obamacare, as well as the employer mandate and a fund meant for research and development.

The bill also suspends a tax on medical devices and allows states to seek waivers from consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act.

In addition, the bill increases contribution limits to tax-free Health Savings Accounts for three years to help pay for out-of-pocket health costs and expensive prescription medications.

At least four Republican senators have threatened to block the so-called skinny repeal proposal unless they have assurances from House Speaker Paul Ryan that it is only a placeholder and would not be passed in the House and sent to the president’s desk. They, and others, want this to serve a vehicle for the next step of negotiations between the House and the Senate.

“The skinny bill as policy is a disaster. The skinny bill as a replacement for Obamacare is a fraud,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said. He said he could support the bill, but warned of the dire consequences if it was allowed to become law.

Graham said he has had conversations with Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., in which Meadows has warned him that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has apparently been telling “some” people that the House…

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