Schumer: Senate’s Obamacare Repeal Bill ‘Every Bit As Bad’ As House Version

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., joined by, from left, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., meets with reporters about the health overhaul following a closed-door strategy session at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 20, 2017. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans will have a "discussion draft" of a GOP-only bill scuttling former President Barack Obama's health care law by Thursday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Thursday said Republican senators’ bill to repeal Obamacare is “every bit as bad” as, and in some ways worse than, the House’s proposal to do the same.

“Simply put, this bill will result in higher costs, less care and millions of Americans will lose their health insurance, particularly through Medicaid,” Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor minutes after a discussion draft of the legislation was publicly released. “It’s every bit as bad as the House bill. In some ways it’s even worse.”

Senate Republicans revealed the text of the bill for the first time on Thursday. Their version of the legislation would impose deeper long-term cuts to Medicaid than the House’s proposal and eliminate most of the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies.

Schumer cited President Donald Trump’s remarks that the House’s bill was “mean” and needed more “heart.”

“The way this bill cuts health care is heartless,” he said. “The President said the House bill was mean. The Senate bill may be meaner.”

Schumer called the bill “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and condemned Senate Republicans’ closed-door approach to drafting the legislation.

“We’re potentially voting on it in a week. No committee hearings, no amendments in committee, no debate on the floor save for ten measly hours on one of the most important bills we’re dealing with in decades,” he said. “That brings shame on this body.”

He cited rank-and-file Republican senators who have also criticized the secretive process of the so-called health care working group that drafted the bill.

“There’s member after member,” Schumer said, naming Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Rand Paul (R-KY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Corker (R-TN), “who repeatedly have said this process, in their words and now in mine, is unfair, is truncated and rushed.”

He then addressed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) directly.

“I would ask our leader, rhetorically, because I know the answer, can we allow at least one hour on each amendment, not two minutes? Will we have more time than ten hours to debate the bill?” Schumer said. “I hope so, but if not, please don’t call this an open and fair process. If you want to rush it through, admit the consequences.”

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