The GOP bill to repeal and replace Obamacare passed the House on Thursday and is expected to pass the Senate on Saturday.
It would slash taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals and would end Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, which has been a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act.
It also would eliminate a host of regulations on the health-care industry, which are estimated to cost more than $600 billion over the next decade.
It has been criticized by the medical industry and insurance companies, who argue it will lead to higher premiums, higher deductibles and fewer choices.
In his weekly address, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called the Senate bill “one of the worst ideas ever crafted in the history of this country.”
Ryan has repeatedly called on Senate Democrats to oppose the bill, which he says will add $2 trillion to the federal deficit.
But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that the Senate legislation “does not contain any solutions” for the ACA.
And he warned that if Republicans don’t move to repeal Obamacare, “the country will be in for a long night.”
On Thursday, Ryan gave a speech in which he defended the bill.
“There are many things we can do to help Americans in the private sector,” Ryan said.
“One of them is to make sure that our health care system is more affordable.
Another is to strengthen our health insurance markets and to make them more accessible to Americans.
The third is to create jobs.
And we are doing all three.”
But a key element of the GOP bill, the so-called Cadillac tax, will not be repealed.
Instead, it would be replaced by a new tax on employers and individuals who sell insurance through their employer.
Under the GOP proposal, individuals who earn between $150,000 and $200,000 would be subject to the tax.
It is estimated that this tax will generate about $600 million a year.
And under the House bill, individuals earning between $100,000 to $150 and $300,000, as well as those earning between less than $150 million, would pay the tax, but only if they have employer-sponsored insurance.
The bill also repeals an Obama-era rule that made it harder for small businesses to raise premiums, which the Senate GOP bill would also eliminate.
Trump and Republicans have been under pressure from their base to address the crisis in the health care market.
Last week, Trump told Fox News that “people are going to have to pay more for insurance.”
“We’re going to lower the rates, we’re going make it more affordable,” Trump said.
But the House GOP bill also would repeal the individual mandate, which requires people to have insurance or face a penalty.
In exchange, it calls for an additional $100 billion to expand Medicaid and other state programs.
Republicans also have said they will scrap the mandate entirely and instead offer subsidies to help lower-income people purchase insurance.
On Thursday afternoon, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R.
Alaska) introduced legislation to repeal the Cadillac tax and allow insurers to charge individuals a $5,000 “insurance premium credit.”
The bill would allow the credit to be used for health insurance only if the cost of the policy exceeds $5.
Murkowski said that the credit would allow individuals to afford the insurance they need.
Muraws health-insurance plan, called Health Savings Accounts, would also be repealed, Murkowski added.
But Republicans have said that there will be no new taxes on the wealthy.
That would be a departure from Trump’s call earlier in the week to repeal “Obamacare’s death tax.”
Trump’s tax on wealth is the first major policy reversal he has made since he was elected president.
But it will be his second major policy shift since taking office, with Ryan’s first one being his proposal to eliminate the estate tax, a tax on inheritances that was passed in the GOP’s 2016 tax overhaul.
Trump has said that he is still undecided on the estate taxes.
The tax was passed by Congress in 1924 and was designed to pay for social security and pensions.
It was repealed in 2017 in order to pay down the national debt and create a simpler tax code.