Former US President Barack Obama has slammed the Republican Party’s new healthcare bill, which he said would transfer wealth from the poor to the rich. “It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America,” Obama said on Thursday in a 1,000-word post on Facebook. The Republican version “hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else”, he added. “Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family — this bill will do you harm,” he added. Senate Republicans unveiled a bill earlier on Thursday in a step forward to fulfil their seven-year-long promise to replace the Affordable Care Act, a piece of legislation that was considered the centrepiece of Obama’s legacy and coined “Obamacare”.
The 142-page bill proposed considerable cuts to Medicaid, a healthcare programme for low-income and disabled Americans, offered tax cuts to help people buy health insurance and gave states more power in shaping health-care regulations. The bill was a revised version of a healthcare bill passed by the House of Representatives last month. Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell has pushed for a vote on the bill next week, but at least four Republicans have publicly voiced their opposition to the bill.
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Republicans held 52 seats in the 100-member chamber, which means it cannot afford losing more than three of its votes. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that President Donald Trump “is pleased to see the process moving forward swiftly in Congress, and he looks forward to seeing a finalised bill on his desk”. But Sanders stopped short of saying that the bill enjoys Trump’s full backing, hinting more tweaking down the road. “I don’t believe that the president has specifically weighed in that it’s right to cut Medicaid,” Sanders said, adding that Trump will continue to negotiate with the Congress “until we get the best bill that we can”.