Fractured Republicans get options on healthcare Featured

Wayne CurryJun 08, 2017

McConnell said he expects the Congressional Budget Office will soon score the Senate's version of the bill, which continues to be negotiated behind closed doors among Republicans, a source with direct knowledge of what was discussed at the meeting told CNN. The Senate has the mere beginnings of its own draft of the health care bill, and tax reform will likely be sitting on the sidelines until it is resolved. "This is a really big mess in a very complex system, so you don't do that in a couple of weeks". More than $18 million would be stripped for the state employee pay hike.

The House bill would slash more than $800 billion in federal Medicaid spending over the next decade, rolling back the expansion and capping future federal aid to states.

"The Senate I'm sure will follow suit and get a bill across the finish line this summer that will be great health care for Americans".

President Donald Trump met with Republican congressional leaders on Tuesday to rejuvenate efforts to overhaul the US healthcare and tax systems as investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election campaign weigh on his administration.In a White House meeting, Trump welcomed indications by senior Republicans that the Senate might vote on a healthcare bill in July, before it breaks for the summer, after the House of Representatives passed its own version in May."Now the Senate I'm sure will follow suit and get a bill across the finish line this summer that will be great healthcare and I'm looking forward to seeing it", Trump said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is proposing to keep in place Obamacare's protection against higher health-insurance premiums for people with pre-existing conditions when they buy individual coverage, said a Republican aide familiar with the recommendation. There will be drama in the push and pull between more-moderate and more-conservative members in shaping the bill.

Those that did expand their Medicaid population don't want to see their expansion population lose coverage, and those that did not expand, believe they are entitled to an additional financial benefit so they are not at a disadvantage as compared to the expansion states.

"Without true competition and choice in the market, we will never be able to lower health care costs for families and small businesses", Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters. Instead of giving states the chance to opt out of regulations, conservative Utah Sen.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that Trump was "sabotaging" the health care law. In a May 20 story, Pear had written that "in some ways, the Obama administration shares responsibility with the Trump administration for the current mess", because it had paid out the cost-sharing subsidies after the Republican-controlled House (and later Senate) refused to appropriate them.

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Meanwhile, Axios reported that a waiver option is being considered to allow states to waive some, but not all, of the Obamacare insurer mandates that were waivable under the House bill.

The Senate bill is also expected to take a slower approach to rolling back the Medicaid expansion. Vice President Mike Pence met with senators for lunch June 6, but McConnell said the meeting wasn't pivotal.

About half a dozen Senate Republicans have expressed doubt that the chamber will act on a health bill in 2017. 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.

There has been little progress on healthcare since the House passed its bill.

Senators are making changes to the AHCA's tax credits to tie them to income.

The original House spending plan - backed by Republicans in the chamber, but opposed by almost all Democrats - sought to leave $206 million unspent in the financial year that begins July 1, even though the state income forecast predicts the dollars will be available.

The GOP cleared a major procedural hurdle Tuesday, as the Senate's main referee - the parliamentarian - said the House template comports with fast-track budget rules Republicans are using to avoid a Democratic filibuster of their plans. McConnell told Reuters late last month he did not yet know how to amass the votes needed to pass a bill on healthcare.

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