Speculation that Senate health care bill will differ wildly from House version may be overstated
Speculation that Republican Senate leaders will draft a health care bill that is hugely different than the measure that passed the House is "vastly overstated," a health care expert said.
GOP Senate leaders are putting the final touches to the draft, which will then be forwarded to the Congressional Budget Office for its analysis.
But the bill, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wants on the floor of the chamber by July 4, is likely to include provisions that will move money around rather than entirely different concepts from the House American Health Care Act (ACHA), Tom Miller, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said.
The speculation is "grossly and vastly overstated," Miller told Patient Daily. "They will want to get more to older people and the slowing down curtailment of Medicare expansion," Miller said.
His reasoning is somewhat counter to speculation that the Republican leadership will include provisions to mollify moderates, including removing language that would allow states to opt out of community rating, which is including in the House AHCA.
Community rating bars insurance companies from charging different rates to individuals within particular regions. Critics of the opt out argue those with serious or pre-existing conditions could end up being charged rates so high they are unaffordable.
McConnell has invoked a rule that means the bill will bypass committees and go straight to the floor. He also said the draft will not be published before it gets to the floor.
It's a "fair assumption" to say the Senate leader wants the least amount of public debate as possible on the bill, Miller said, adding there will, however, undoubtedly be leaks as the circle of those in the know widens.
Beyond that, Miller added, it's hard to pin down what McConnell's strategy will be as the July deadline looms.
It would be normal that McConnell will want to know he has the votes to pass the bill, Miller said. This contrasts with the first attempt to pass the House version, which failed.