Thursday, December 03, 2015

Senate poised to gut Obamacare

Finally! But if 0bama vetoes this bill he would be acting in direct defiance of the people he purportedly represents, a vast majority of Americans .

Senate poised to gut Obamacare

The Senate is poised to vote Thursday on legislation that guts President Obama's signature healthcare reform law, and for the first time, the Senate is expected to pass the bill and send it to Obama's desk.

Senators on Wednesday spent hours debating legislation that would essentially repeal the heart of Obamacare, but not the entire law. It would eliminate penalties on individuals for not buying health insurance, and penalties on companies for not offering insurance, and would also repeal the medical device tax, and end the tax on high-cost insurance plans.

The legislation also includes language to end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, a women's health care and abortion provider.

It can pass with just 51 votes instead of the traditional 60 votes, because Republicans chose to employ a budgetary tactic called reconciliation.

Republicans argued Wednesday that the law must be stopped because it is hurting Americans by raising healthcare costs and reducing choices for consumers.

"It hurts many of the Americans it was supposed to help," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "It resulted in millions of cancellation notices for hardworking Americans who had plans they liked and who had done nothing wrong."

Republicans control 54 votes, but easy passage of the repeal could be jeopardized thanks in part to some conservatives, including presidential candidates Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, who say they won't vote for it because it's not a full repeal.

The bill leaves the health care law's expansion of Medicaid intact, which is a large portion of both the law and its cost.

Democrats pointed out the futility of the GOP's efforts. President Obama has vowed to veto the bill, and Republicans lack a supermajority to override it, meaning the law will remain even if the Senate passes it.

But for Republicans, passing the repeal bill would mark a major party victory five years after the law's enactment, when they first promised they would sent a repeal bill to the president. The House passed the repeal bill last month.

Senators will vote on amendments Thursday, including a provision to maintain Planned Parenthood funding. If senators amend the bill in any way, the House would need to reconsider it with the changes before it heads to the White House.


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