Biden Says Senate Bill ‘Should Make Your Blood Boil’

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Former Vice President Joe Biden wrote an op-ed Monday in The Washington Post claiming that the Senate bill to repeal major portions of Obamacare should make every American furious.

Biden wrote that the Republican Senate’s health care reform bill would “drag us back to a time–not all that long ago–when Americans could be denied basic health care because they were unable to afford it.” That, according to the former vice president, is the key reality of the Senate’s bill, and it should be more than enough “to make your blood boil.”

The former vice president lambasted the Senate’s proposal for largely dismissing the opioid addiction crisis, gutting the funding for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion program, and eliminating many of the essential health benefit mandates, like maternity care, mental health and substance-abuse services covered under the current system. Those features “must be part of any viable health coverage system,” Biden wrote.

Admitting that Obamacare is not without its flaws, Biden defended the choices the Obama administration made “when designing the law flowed from a commitment to provide the best possible care to the most people. Compare that to Republican proposals … and millions more will no longer have the same protections.”

The Congressional Budget Office projected in late June that 22 million fewer people would have insurance by 2026 under the Senate bill.

Senate Republicans have amended their proposal, and the CBO was expected to release its scoring of the revised bill Monday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday evening that the Senate would delay its vote on the repeal bill until after Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona returned to Washington, D.C., which has caused the CBO to delay its review. McCain underwent a surgery to remove a two-inch blood clot above his left eye Friday, and he is currently recovering at his home in Arizona. (RELATED: CBO Releases Score For Revised Senate Health Care Bill)

McConnell believes the delay has given Republicans a unique opportunity to convince members that are currently opposed to the bill to throw their support behind it.

“Senator McConnell says there’s still time to make changes to the bill before it gets to the Senate floor. But it shouldn’t even get there, because his bill can’t be fixed. By denying that all Americans have a right to health care, it’s fundamentally flawed,” Biden wrote.

If Republicans believe a few changes to the Senate bill are enough to convince the American people that the proposal is “anything but a big step backward,” they are wrong, according to Biden.

“If Republican leadership wants to improve the ACA [Obamacare], let’s first come to an agreement that everyone should have health coverage. Then, based on that premise, let’s have a debate about how best to improve care and reduce costs. Let’s again make the commitment that in America, health care is a right for all, not a privilege for the wealthy,” the former vice president wrote.

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