what is a ‘skinny repeal’ of Obamacare?

The latest Republican healthcare plan, whose details remain unclear, would eliminate the ACA’s individual mandate, employee mandate and ‘Cadillac tax’

Senator Lisa Murkowski is surrounded by reporters as she arrives in the US Capitol prior to a vote on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Senators are now considering a ‘skinny repeal’. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

It might sound like another trendy low-calorie caffeine drink promising all of the boost with none of the regrets.

But the skinny repeal is the fad sweeping the Senate Republican caucus as senators desperately try to find a way to advance their efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The pared-down plan has yet to be published but it would:

• eliminate the individual mandate, which requires all Americans to have health insurance or face a penalty

• remove the employer mandate, the requirement that companies with 50 or more full-time employees must provide health insurance or pay a fine

• and repeal the so-called cadillac tax, an excise tax on expensive insurance plans offered by employers that is due to go into effect in 2020.

It would not affect Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid, the government health program for low-income Americans, which some moderate Republicans want to keep.

Without a prepared text, the legislation has also not yet been analyzed by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. This is a requirement if the bill is to pass through the special budget process known as reconciliation, which would mean it would only need a simple majority of 51 votes to get through.

But Democrats asked the budget agency to estimate the effect of the rumored amendment. The preliminary analysis on the yet-to-be-filed provisions found that it would leave 16 million fewer people insured over the next decade compared with current law and would raise premiums by roughly 20%.

The skinny repeal is the latest effort by Senate Republicans try to find some legislation that can…

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