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Senate Releases New Version of Better Care Reconciliation Act to Replace Obamacare

After the announcement that Congress’s August Recess would be cut short by two weeks in an attempt to further progress on various legislation, Senate Republicans released a revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act on Thursday morning.

The revised bill provides individual states an additional $70 billion in the hopes of helping reduce premiums for health care subscribers.

On the issue of Medicaid, the cuts made by the initial bill will remain.

Similarly, an option is presented that would allow subscribers to purchase a low-premium plan that would cover fewer medical services and have a higher deductible but would limit out-of-pocket costs and be required to cover three primary care visits per year.

A provision championed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was also added to the bill, though it remains in brackets at this time -meaning that it is incomplete at present and can be edited or removed.

Dubbed the Consumer Freedom Option, the provision allows insurers to sell two types of plans: those that are compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and those that are not.

Compliant plans would be of greater interest to those who are ill or have a pre-existing condition, as the plan would still uphold many of those applicable mandates from the ACA. Non-compliant plans would benefit those who are not sick.

Criticism around the Consumer Freedom Option deals largely with the speculation that those who are sick will have to deal with higher premiums and a fractured market, as Axios reported.

Per the new revision, if a subscriber were to purchase a catastrophic plan, they will qualify for tax credits to assist them in paying their premiums.

Additionally, the bill now provides $45 billion with the aim of aiding those suffering from opioid addiction. The addition of these funds comes after many Senate moderates were tentative with their support, claiming the opioid crisis as a priority for them.

Also added to the bill is a provision that allows subscribers to pay their premiums using health care savings accounts.

It remains to be seen if the revisions to the bill will be enough to win over moderate Senate Republicans or if the party will remain somewhat fractured on the issue.

The Congressional Budget Office’s scoring of the revisions is expected to land on Monday.