Quick Takes: Reactions to the Senate Health Care Bill

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* Barack Obama weighed in.

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

* The “lunatic caucus” in the Senate doesn’t like McConnell’s bill.

Four Republican senators from the conservative wing of their party say they oppose the Senate health-care bill as it was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday, which places the effort to overhaul the American health-care system in jeopardy as it heads for an anticipated vote in the Senate next week.

Those senators — Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mike Lee of Utah — announced in a joint statement that while they cannot support the bill as it is currently written, they are open to negotiating changes that could ultimately win their support.

* When it comes to more moderate Republicans, “concern” seems to be the word-of-the-day. For example, Susan Collins.

She took issue with how the Senate bill, starting in 2025, used a rate of growth for federal funding for Medicaid that is significantly slower than the typical increases of costs for the program…

She added that she was concerned about how the cuts would negatively affect rural hospitals or prompt states to restrict Medicaid eligibility.

Collins also was critical of the Senate bill’s provision to defund Planned Parenthood, but previously she has hinted she could be OK with the legislation if she is allowed to vote on amendment to strip to defund measure.

* Rob Portman is also “concerned.”

I continue to have real concerns about the Medicaid policies in this bill, especially those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic.

* Some Republican governors as also expressing “concern.”

Former presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich said he has “deep concerns” about the new health care legislation that Senate Republicans made public Thursday, joining other GOP governors who aren’t thrilled about the Obamacare repeal bill.

* If you want to keep track over the next week, The Hill has started a Senate whip count.

* CBO will weigh in with their scoring early next week.

* When it come to voters, this is about as bad as it gets for a piece of legislation:

* Finally, Bill Bramhall summed it up best.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.