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Medicaid Expansion Takes Center Stage in Senate Health Care Debate

Compromise is in the air

Meeting resistance to the House’s plans to reduce the scope and reach of Medicaid, Senate negotiators are discussing a compromise that would maintain the program’s expansion under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). In return, new spending limits would be imposed on the expanded system, according to an article in The New York Times. The changes would, for the first time, put Medicaid on a budget, limiting federal payments to states for care provided to low-income people.

With 62 senators, including 20 Republicans, coming from states that expanded their Medicaid coverage under the PPACA, the House’s American Health Care Act almost certainly can’t pass the Senate in its present form, the Times notes.

Republican leaders have made it clear that the Senate legislation that ultimately emerges will look very different from the bill that narrowly cleared the House. Controversial House provisions relaxing the PPACA’s health-coverage requirements and rules on pre-existing conditions are likely to be changed, according to the Times, as are the size and distribution of tax credits to help people purchase health insurance plans.

The talks won’t gain “real momentum” until the Congressional Budget Office delivers its final analysis of the House bill next week, the article says.

Source: The New York Times; May 16, 2017.

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