GOP health care bill fate could be decided this week

Frederick Owens
June 8, 2017

"The way to get companies to come back to these counties is to say you're going to do cost-sharing permanently". Mitch McConnell, the GOP Senate leader from Kentucky, recently said he didn't see a path yet.

Of course, "Obamacare" was not ideal, but if Smucker truly wanted to ensure that all Americans have access to "quality, affordable health care" as he claims, he would work to fix those problems, rather than shred the gains we have made and give massive tax cuts to those who least need them.

Asked more broadly about the challenges posed by the president going off-message on Twitter, Short countered that the president usually helps advance the White House agenda. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). While Paul didn't comment June 6, he previously panned the House bill for creating a new entitlement program.

"'Cause this is not like fine wine, it doesn't get better with age", he added with a laugh.

At a time when Democrats appear ready to coat their fleet of environmentally friendly and eco-conscious vehicles with "single-payer, universal health care" bumper stickers, I don't even know what the GOP bumper sticker says. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who expects Republicans will need to provide a stopgap measure to stabilize insurance markets while they continue working on a broader overhaul. But lawmakers emerging from the room were tight-lipped about what exactly is on the table.

The House healthcare bill could result in 23 million people losing insurance, the Congressional Budget Office estimated, although Republicans have challenged that conclusion. "I'm looking for the small print", he said.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who is the only Republican up for re-election in 2018 in a state that Trump lost, also said that he's not yet willing to support the plan. This would then get them through to the next stage - negotiations between the House and Senate - which would have the virtue of increasing the pressure on reluctant holdouts to pass the final bill, pulling the trigger and destroying the Affordable Care Act for good.

They're also trying to rein in the 2010 law's vast expansion of Medicaid without inflicting too much pain.

Lawmakers remain split over what to do about Medicaid. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., told Bloomberg senators are discussing a softer rollback of Medicaid expansion that extends beyond 2020.

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Cassidy said the protections for people with pre-existing conditions were a big factor for him, as well as the slower rollback of the Medicaid expansion, which has helped states like his insure more people nearly entirely on the federal government's dime.

The Senate is now more moderate than the House and will likely pass its own version of the bill.

Capito indicated that she wants to ensure those on Medicaid expansion are covered - though that doesn't necessarily mean the program needs to stay in the same form as ObamaCare. The funding level would increase annually based on the medical inflation rate in the Consumer Price Index, which grows more quickly than the standard inflation rate.

If Republicans don't act fast, Democrats will pitch their plan for single-payer, universal health care as a choice between something that costs individuals less vs. more, that is simpler vs. more complicated, that leads to greater equality vs. more inequality.

Other options that are on the table include how to structure tax credits.

"The one thing I will say is you see the news coming out of OH, the same news that we heard in Iowa - more and more Americans are losing their health care the longer that Obamacare stays in place, and that's why to me time is of the essence", he told reporters. During the Republican primaries, in which Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) responded "yes" as elevator doors closed.

"I think it's more likely to fail than not", Sen.

With the prospect of that growing stronger on Tuesday, Democrats were left with their own predicament: whether to begin negotiating with GOP moderates on a separate bill in order to stave off a conservative, Republicans-only approach.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., wouldn't answer questions but it seems unlikely that he would support the direction of the Senate GOP bill, which is nothing like the complete repeal that Paul was proposing earlier this year.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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