Senate's "skinny" Obamacare repeal will also defund Planned Parenthood

Paul Pate | Jul 31, 2017

Senate Republicans have added a measure for defunding Planned Parenthood for a year to their scaled-down Obamacare-repeal bill, lobbyists and Congressional aides told the Hill. They said that Senate Republicans will this new measure and the rest of the bill over lunch on Thursday before finalizing the bill and holding a vote on Thursday or Friday.

The bill's primary text calls for repealing Obamacare's insurance mandates for both individuals and businesses, but it does not pitch any alternative health-care system to replace them. With the failure of the GOP's comprehensive Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill last week, the caucus has essentially repackaged just the repeal part of the bill as a new "skinny" bill.

The new bill has more statutes than this, but rank-and-file Republican senators have little information currently about what these would be. Anonymous sources said that the bill's other parts may include cuts to Obamacare's prevention and public health fund, as well as an increase of waivers allowing states to ignore certain rules.

The bill may also add money for community health centers. Republicans favor them as alternatives to Planned Parenthood centers.

Democrats may challenge the Planned Parenthood-defunding measure on procedural grounds by arguing that it breaks Senate rules governing fast-track procedures. Since Democrats have not seen the provision either, however, they do not know for sure if they would have a case, according to a Democratic aide.

"The cruel irony is that Republicans are selling the 'skinny repeal' as giving individuals more choice and freedom, while the Planned Parenthood provision would deny women the choice or freedom to go to the provider they trust," Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

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