ibusinesslines.com February 19, 2018

Five GOP senators now oppose health care bill as written

26 June 2017, 09:12 | Laverne Osborne

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In a rare show of bipartisan unity on health care, several Democrat and Republican senators said in TV interviews that the Senate healthcare bill is fatally flawed- and doesn't deserve a vote anytime soon.

The Senate is reckoning with the latest version of the Obamacare replacement plan, and the GOP leadership hoped to get a vote on it this week before Congress begins a recess July 4. "I can not support a piece of legislation that takes insurance away from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans", Heller said.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rand Paul (R-Texas) and.

Collins said she's "very concerned" about cuts for older people with serious, chronic illnesses and the impact on lower-income Americans, as well as the cuts to funding for rural hospitals and nursing homes through Medicaid reductions. There's no way we should be voting on this next week.

"We have no interest in playing the games of identity politics, that's not what this is about; it's about getting a job done", a GOP aide said in response to criticism about the makeup of the group. Collins, from ME, told the same show she was doubtful that the bill could pass this week, adding that she was very concerned about the proposals' impact on older people and the most vulnerable.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. walks on to the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 22, 2017, following a meeting with Senate Republicans on a health reform bill.

"I don't think they're that far off".

Ron Johnson, R-Wis., one of the five senators opposing the bill.

The opposition from Republicans was even more critical, since the defections of only three GOP senators would be enough to sink the bill. He criticized his critics who question why he hasn't pushed a bill through both chambers to accomplish his major campaign pledge of "completely" repealing and replacing Barack Obama's signature domestic legislative achievement. "I might vote for 80 percent repeal", Paul told ABC's "This Week".

But the politics in the Senate remain hard as McConnell continues to negotiate behind closed doors and rushes the bill to a vote expected this week.

"Now we are able to bring them in and get their blood sugars down, their blood pressure down", Blair said in a recent interview.

"These bills are not going to fix the problem. they're throwing money at things. let's actually fix the problem", Johnson said.

Many senators objected loudly to these changes, usually because their states were among those that expanded coverage, or because their states rely on Medicaid to finance treatment of raging opioid epidemics or both.

The six-month waiting period would fill a big policy gap in the current Better Care Act, which requires health plans to accept all patients - but doesn't require all Americans to purchase coverage, as the Affordable Care Act does. Experts expect that this would cause a death spiral, where only the sickest patients purchase coverage and premiums skyrocket. "That would be very bad for the Republican Party - and please let Cryin' Chuck stay!" he wrote.

"We are doing everything we can to fight this bill, because it's so devastating for the middle class", Schumer told ABC.

Lower-income consumers would lose even more money, because the Senate bill would not guarantee access to special, low-deductible plans that the Affordable Care Act makes available.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated the House bill would reduce federal Medicaid spending by $834 billion over 10 years, and the program would cover about 14 million fewer people by 2026, a 17 percent reduction.

"I can not support a piece of legislation that takes insurance away from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans", he said.

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