United States Senator Deb Fischer says it’s time for the Senate to move forward on health care.
A revised health care proposal has been released by Senate Republican leaders.
Fischer says she will vote to proceed with debate on the measure.
“I will vote on the motion to proceed for this bill, because I believe it’s important that we get on the bill,” Fischer tells Nebraska reporters during a conference call. “There will be an unlimited amendment process for all senators and Nebraskans need to see more affordability and more certainty with health care and I believe it is time to act.”
Fischer says the debate will be an open-amendment process.
“I think that’s extremely important for Nebraskans to understand, that there will be a full discussion, there will be a full debate,” according to Fischer. “Republicans and Democrats will offer amendments and they have to be taken up.”
Republican leaders in the Senate made a number of modifications after their own members objected to the first proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Under the new measure, a basic health care insurance plan could be offered. Federal tax credits would be allowed to pay for catastrophic health insurance. People with Health Savings Accounts would be allowed to use the accounts to pay insurance premiums.
Some financial concessions have been made as well.
The new bill adds $70 billion more to the $100 billion which would be provided to the states to reduce health insurance premiums. Taxes enacted by the ACA would remain, both the 3.8% tax on investment income and the 0.9% payroll tax for individuals making at least $200,000 and couples making $250,000 or more.
A sticking point has been Medicaid.
Fischer insists she wants to strengthen provisions which aid the most vulnerable.
“And those are children and their mothers. It’s for the disabled, for the frail. That’s the people, our citizens, this program was designed for,” according to Fischer.
The Senate plan would provide fixed payments to the states.
Fischer says it appears states which declined to expand Medicaid, such as Nebraska, will be affected the least.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]