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Senate rule places GOP health bill on fast track
20 June 2017, 09:52 | Laverne Osborne
Ready or not, Republican leaders want the Senate to vote on a healthcare bill by the end of the month. Unlike the House bill's waiver scheme, the Senate approach being looked at would not allow states to permit insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions more based on their health status.
But now, with pressing budget deadlines looming and President Donald Trump eager to focus on tax legislation, Senate GOP leaders have decided it's time to vote and move on.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican and vice chairman of the National Governors Association, is urging Congress and the White House to maintain spending and coverage for those who became eligible for Medicaid under the expansion.
And after the GOP meeting Tuesday, Graham sounded more optimistic, calling the options discussed "promising proposals".
"The time is now", a Senate aide involved in discussions said. Because of the Congressional schedule, we pretty much already know that there will be stop gap budgets and maybe a year end Omnibus funding measure. "I'm going to do everything I can to protect Ohio's interests and ensure that our health care system works better for all Ohioans", Sen.
Senate Republican leaders are aiming to conclude their perilous and divisive effort to rewrite the nation's health-care laws as soon as late this month, giving themselves only weeks to resolve substantial disagreements and raising the possibility that their push will collapse. Leadership has largely been in "listening mode", that aide said, and it's not clear yet how they will be able to consolidate the wide-ranging input it has received from across the conference.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he doesn't know how Senate Republicans will secure a majority of votes to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.
"We wish it weren't this way, but the reality is that it will be a partisan exercise", said Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director.
It's also unclear when Senate Republicans will introduce legislative text, which reveals the devil in the details and will likely only spark more controversy and dissent. But lawmakers emerging from the room were tight-lipped about what exactly is on the table.
Under Obamacare, the essential health benefit mandate forced health insurance companies to offer mandatory coverage for things like maternity services and mental health care.
Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican from Nevada who is up for re-election in 2018, said he was still looking at the proposals and what he could support.
"What the big print giveth the small print taketh away". "Our tax bill is moving along in Congress and I believe it's doing very well", Mr. Trump said.
There are 52 Republicans in the Senate, which means if two of them buck the leadership by voting no, the 50-50 split would force the vice president to cast the deciding vote.
Lawmakers remain split over what to do about Medicaid.
Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards also opposes the House offer.
Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) is "dead on arrival" in the Senate because he said, "It's not a good plan".
"There should be", Republican Sen.
"We're stuck", Graham told reporters. "Alaska is an extreme outlier and part of it is just our geography, it's our low-density population so if there is not some kind of geographic cost adjustor it makes it tough for me".
If the parliamentarian rules against them, the GOP will revert to their back up plan, which involves working within the current Obamacare subsidy structure, exactly how they would make Obamacare subsidies less costly remains unclear.
Tax Reform: Of the major issues the GOP has promised to address in the near term, tax reform is probably both the closest to the heart of both McConnell and Ryan and the farthest from any sort of resolution.
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