Speed Reads

better care?

It only took 34 words for Senate Republicans to strip away maternity care, mental health benefits, and ambulatory services

After weeks of secrecy, Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, the upper chamber's answer to repealing and replacing ObamaCare. Senate GOP leadership had been working on re-drafting the American Health Care Act, the House Republican bill, since it was passed early last month.

The bill scales back many of the health-care protections embedded in the Affordable Care Act, including stripping away the requirement that insurers cover 10 essential health benefits. Out of a 142-page bill, it took just 34 words to strip away maternity coverage, mental health treatment, and more:

SUNSET OF ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS REQUIREMENT. — Section 1937(b)(5) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396u–7(b)(5)) is amended by adding at the end the following: "This paragraph shall not apply after December 31, 2019.". [Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017]

The 10 essential health benefits protected under the Affordable Care Act that would be at risk under the Better Care Reconciliation Act are: pre-natal, maternity, and post-natal care; ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization, including surgery; mental health and substance abuse treatment; rehabilitative services, including those used to manage chronic diseases; prescription drugs; laboratory services; preventative services; and pediatric care, including oral and vision care for children.

You can read Senate Republicans' entire health-care bill here.