27 June, 2017
The Congressional Budget Office says the number of uninsured people in the United States would rise to 22 million within the next ten years under the Senate health care bill.
The Senate's bill would replace the Affordable Care Act, a law that former President Barack Obama supported. The Affordable Care Act is often called Obamacare. Republicans have spent about seven years attempting to cancel Obamacare.
The CBO said in a study released Monday that the Senate bill would decrease the federal budget deficit by $321 billion by 2026.
This is the second health care bill to be considered in Congress. Both the House and the Senate have different health care bills. In order for a bill to become law, it needs to pass both the House and the Senate and be signed by the president.
Senate leaders plan to vote after the July 4th holiday on their version of the bill. Currently, Americans are required to buy health insurance or pay a fine if they do not. The Senate's bill would end that requirement.
In addition, the bill would end subsidies meant to help lower-income people buy insurance. It would also decrease some taxes on higher-income people. And it would cut billions of dollars of government funding for the health care program for poor and disabled people over the next few years.
Opposition to the bill
To pass a bill in the Senate, a majority of senators must vote for the bill. If there is a tie, the vice president can vote to break the tie. Currently Republicans hold 52 of the 100 seats in the Senate. All 46 Senate Democrats are expected to vote against the bill. In order for the bill to pass, Republicans can risk losing only two of their senators.
A group of Republican senators has already said they will not vote for the bill in its current form.
When Obamacare became law in 2010, it passed without any Republican votes. Since the 2016 elections, Republicans gained control of the presidency, the House and the Senate. A change to Obamacare could be possible now.
About 20 million people have received insurance with Obamacare. Many of those people are covered under the government's Medicaid program for the poor and disabled.
The two bills to change Obamacare propose to cut about $800 billion in federal funds for Medicaid over the next few years. President Donald Trump had stated during his campaign for office that he would not cut Medicaid funding.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told ABC that he hopes that Republicans will talk with Democrats and work together on a solution to make Obamacare better.
I'm Mario Ritter.
And I'm Olivia Liu
Olivia Liu adapted this story for Learning English from VOA News and AP reporting. Mario Ritter was the editor.
Words in This Story
uninsured –adj. not having an agreement with a company or agency that helps pay for the cost of a service such as health care
subsidies – n. government payments to producers or individuals that reduce the cost of a good or service to make it easier to get
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