The Health 202: The Senate health-care bill is suffering from crippling unpopularity, too – Washington Post


The Senate GOP health-care bill departs less from Obamacare than the House measure — yet the two remain close cousins. So will the Senate bill suffer from the same crippling unpopularity as the House version? It appears so.

Today, we’re waiting for an official estimate from the Congressional Budget Office of how many people would be covered under the Senate bill compared to under the Affordable Care Act, the law it seeks to overhaul.

Things didn’t go so great for the House GOP health-care bill earlier this spring when the CBO estimated that it would leave 23 million people uninsured. The score fed a major backlash against that bill, which is currently supported by just 30 percent of the public, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll, which also found 51 percent support for the ACA.

Our best guess is the Senate bill will do a little better on the coverage front, but not by much, resulting in a big public image problem for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to deal with as he tries to push the measure across the finish line this week.

Even if the CBO says the Senate bill will cost fewer people their coverage, say, 18 million or 20 million people instead of the House bill’s 23 million, that won’t be enough to move the needle for Democrats, the health-care industry and others who opposed the House bill on the grounds it would ratchet the uninsured rate back up again — including four Republican governors whose states accepted the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.

Governors John Kasich of Ohio, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Larry Hogan of Maryland all issued separate statements last week criticizing aspects of the Senate measure, including the secrecy under which it was written as well as the impact it would have on state budgets and low-income residents, my colleague Sandhya Somashekhar reports. Each of their states have received billions more in federal dollars over the past to help them cover more Americans on Medicaid.

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