Five takeaways from the GOP’s healthcare reboot

It includes a provision key to earning conservative support – A version of the Cruz proposal that was included in the bill would let insurers offer health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare regulations, as long as they also sell plans that do. Several centrist Republicans have expressed concerns about how this provision would impact people with pre-existing conditions, however, and it’s unclear whether they will accept its inclusion.

Medicaid cuts are largely kept in place – The updated legislation left the deep Medicaid cuts from the first version of the bill essentially unchanged. The legislation would put a cap on federal Medicaid reimbursement for states, dramatically changing the program from an open-ended entitlement. It would end ObamaCare’s increased funding for states to expand Medicaid by 2024, and cut the rate of inflation. Taken together, the bill would cut $772 billion from Medicaid funding over a decade and result in 15 million fewer people enrolled, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The bill includes more money to combat the opioid crisis – Originally, the Senate healthcare bill included $2 billion to help combat the opioid crisis, a far cry from the $45 billion Sens. Portman (R-Ohio) and Capito were pushing for.

The new version has exactly that: $45 billion – The bill keeps ObamaCare taxes on high earners. Republicans reversed from their initial draft and decided to keep ObamaCare’s taxes on high earners. The bill will keep ObamaCare’s 3.8 percent net tax on investment income and a 0.9 percent payroll tax on individuals making more than $200,000. The legislation also keeps an ObamaCare rule that prevents insurance companies from writing off compensation that they pay their executives. The initial draft scrapped all ObamaCare taxes, including those on high earners.

Much of ObamaCare would remain. – The bill probably can’t escape the “ObamaCare lite” moniker. It keeps the structure of ObamaCare’s tax credits to help lower income Americans afford insurance in place, though they would be less generous. A tax on high earners would remain. In short, it’s not a straight repeal of the law.

(Excerpted from The Hill 7/13/17)