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GOP Health Insurance Protected From Obamacare Repeal

GOP Health Insurance Protected From Obamacare Repeal Promo Image

While Senate Republicans attempt to sell another version of their Obamacare repeal and replacement bill, their own government health insurance and their staff's coverage are protected from the repeal in some ways.

The organization Save My Care is using this fact in a new ad that says: "Senators did make the bill better for one group of Americans ... themselves," according to Roll Call.

The revised Senate health care bill draft, also known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act, allows health insurance companies to sell plans to Americans that do not include Obamacare's essential health benefits, such as mental health services and maternity care, notes Vox.

However, health insurance companies would still have to include Obamacare's essential health benefits in plans for Congress and Congressional staff.

The Senate bill would allow health insurance companies to charge people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums. That part would also apply to Congress and their staff.

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The Republicans are using the budget reconciliation process (51 votes to pass) instead of a normal Senate bill vote (60 votes) to try to repeal and replace Obamacare because they don't have 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster.

The budget reconciliation rules protect some parts of Congress' health insurance coverage plans via the jurisdiction of various committees, according to Vox.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas called out his own party to end that protection with a new bill, reports Roll Call:

While this exemption was included in the Senate health care bill out of procedural necessity, we must still be diligent in ensuring that Members of Congress are treated just like other Americans under this law. This is an issue of fundamental fairness. Lawmakers are not above the laws that they pass and I believe that it is crucial that Members of Congress abide by the same laws that their own constituents follow.

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Only Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky are definite "no" votes on the revised GOP bill, but several other Republicans are undecided, according to NBC News.

Some undecided Republicans and their states are getting special financial treatment from GOP leadership.

The new version of the Senate bill includes an amendment that would only help Alaska, to ensure the votes of Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. The new provision promises money to low income people so they can buy health insurance. That provision is written only for states where the population is below a specific threshold; only Alaska qualifies.

There were also provisions added to the bill to woo Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and their states.

There were no changes made for Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada who has opposed previous versions of the bill.

Sources: Roll Call, Vox, NBC News / Photo Credit: 401(K) 2012/Flickr, Kevin Simmons/Flickr, Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

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