GOP leaders working on repeal bill changes to win over balky senators

Jimmy Kimmel delivers a speech at the 89th Oscars
Jimmy Kimmel delivers a speech at the 89th Oscars
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25 September, 2017

Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Sen. Rand Paul and other Republicans who might oppose the GOP's last-gasp effort to topple the Obama health care law. Susan Collins all but closed the door on supporting the last-ditch effort to scrap the Obama health care law and Sen. But he said he would continue the fight to repeal "Obamacare" even if it meant going back again and again. But the comments by Collins and Cruz left the Republican drive to uproot President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act dangling by an increasingly slender thread.

Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate. It is taking it from Democrat states and giving it to Republican states.

On "Fox & Friends Weekend", Lewandowski, Trump's former campaign manager, said that McCain has now had two opportunities to repeal and replace ObamaCare, and he's failed to do so.

Murkowski has been viewed as the GOP skeptic most likely to change her vote. "I'm very excited about it, we've finally found an alternative to ObamaCare". But state governments could waive requirements that insurers not charge more for people with pre-existing conditions or that all health plans cover certain essential benefits.

"It's very hard for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill", said Collins.

Also on "Meet the Press", Short said, "We're planning to have the vote this week", adding, "we think it'll probably be Wednesday". Lee spokesman Conn Carroll said Lee wants "technical changes" but hasn't finalized his position.

Yet Republican congressional leaders, goaded by GOP voters and the president himself, were determined to give it one last try. As far back as April, insurers were anxious that they wouldn't have enough time to set rates for 2018.

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McCain has complained that Republicans should have worked with Democrats in reshaping the country's $3 trillion-a-year health care system and cited uncertainty over the bill's impact on consumers. It could force members to go on the record on a bill that many are still learning about.

Alaska's two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, are both still on the fence over the bill. Aides to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this week that he planned to force a vote, and that could still happen, to clearly show who was for the plan, and who was not. If party leaders expected to lose, they would have to choose between conservatives demanding no surrender and others seeing no point in another demoralizing defeat.

Given the opposition from Paul and McCain, a decisive "no" from Collins would be enough to kill the measure, which may not be put up for a vote if its prospects seem doomed.

They also say the cuts to Medicaid would cause millions of Americans to lose their coverage - and the changes would weaken individual insurance markets, making coverage more costly. Republicans have pledged for seven years to overturn the law, and President Donald Trump made doing so a central theme of his 2016 campaign. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced last week that he could not "in good conscience" vote for the stalled Republican bill written by Sens.

If it were to pass the Senate, the bill would head to the U.S. House, which passed a different Obamacare repeal bill in May. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will effect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.

The plan would create a framework through which the 50 states would get block grants to design health coverage initiatives for people now covered on Obamacare exchanges and under the law's Medicaid expansion.


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