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Senate Releases Full Text Of "Skinny" Obamacare Repeal Bill, Vote Expected After Midnight

With the Senate healthcare vote expected sometime between midnight and 2am, moments ago the full text of the Senate "Skinny" bill which may or may not pass, has been released. Here is the summary version of what is hereby known as the "The Health Care Freedom Act":

  • REPEAL THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE — Obamacare's individual mandate forced the American people to purchase insurance they frequently didn't want, couldn't afford or actually use. This plan permanently protects Americans from this onerous mandate.
  • REPEAL THE EMPLOYER MANDATE — Obamacare's employer mandate too often forced job creators to forgo hiring new workers or keep an employee's hours low. This anti-jobs mandate is repealed for eight years, which provides employers a greater incentive to hire more employees.
  • PROVIDE FLEXIBILITY TO STATES (1332 WAIVERS)— States can access additional flexibility to use waivers that exist in current law to provide more options for consumers to buy the health insurance they want. It also allows the Department of Health and Human Services to approve waivers faster.
  • INCREASE HSA CONTRIBUTIONS — Increase contribution limits to tax-free Health Savings Accounts for three years to help pay for out-of-pocket health costs and expensive prescription medications.
  • REPEAL THE MEDICAL DEVICE TAX — Both Democrats and Republicans have opposed this tax on medical innovation. The legislation repeals this tax for three years.
  • FUND COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS — Prioritize health funding for Community Health Centers across the country.

The full bill also includes a provision for defunding Planned Parenthood, which is the reason for the community health center language.

Earlier Speaker Paul Ryan assured five Republican senators that if the "Skinny" bill passes the Senate, he will take it to a conference committee rather than have the House vote on it, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters.

Graham, who had vowed to oppose a "skinny" Obamacare repeal bill unless assured by Ryan, said the House speaker told lawmakers that he did not see such legislation as good policy. Asked if he would now vote "yes" on such a bill, Graham said: "Yes. Based on what I heard, I am."

Some observations on the bill from Politico's Burgess Everett (via Twitter):

  • McConnell says the bill "restores freedom to Americans, that Obamacare took away."
  • McConnell is selling the skinny bill as good policy and also as a path to conference.
  • This bill was not designed for Collins and Murkowski, so GOP looking for everyone that voted to open debate to support the skinny bill.
  • Murphy: "This is nuclear grade bonkers what is happening here"

Some more from NBC's Frank Thorp (via Twitter):

  • Sen Rounds on mtg with @SpeakerRyan: "He acknowledged that this particular bill was designed to get us to conference..."
  • More Rounds: "(@SpeakerRyan) said we will bring it to conference. And we asked, can we say that publicly, and he said, yes."
  • Sen Rounds: "(Speaker Ryan) has given us about as good of an assurance as you can get that he intends to send this to conference."
  • The vote series including the vote on the 'skinny repeal' bill is expected to happen around midnight tonight.

Having been written off earlier, it increasingly looks as if the bill may just have enough support to pass, with the tie-breaking vote from Mike Pence who is expected to be present for a potential vote later.

The full text of the pared-down "skinny bill" is below (link):