Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Senate GOP aiming for vote this month on health legislation

The working group has spent several weeks tossing around ideas, but with conservatives and moderates still starkly divided on the best way to proceed, it's time for leadership to make the call.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Monday that he doesn't think Republicans will pass a health-care bill in 2017, Bloomberg News reported. Susan Collins (R-Maine) will vote for the legislation.

Another key Republican also expressed optimism. Some Republican lawmakers praised an outline that McConnell presented at a lunchtime meeting, although they cautioned that much work remained to be done. The House of Representatives passed a bill in May.

That legislative vision appeared to sway some on-the-fence members who could prove critical to cobbling together 50 GOP votes. Sen.

According to legislative staff estimates, tax cuts proposed by the House would reduce revenue by $122 million in the fiscal year beginning in July and $234 million in the following fiscal year.

Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy suggested he was comfortable with the bill still being written, though he noted he hadn't seen final text.

Graham said Paul is "irretrievably gone", meaning GOP leaders can only afford one more defection and still pass legislation repealing and replacing ObamaCare.

Asked how realistic it is to expect Republicans to work with Democrats on health care, the aide simply said: "It becomes more realistic the more Republicans continue to flail". "I think there's obviously more to be done, but the phaseout is further down the road and states have a chance to adapt", he said.

The Republican Senate plan also includes some of its controversial features, such as a phase out of Medicaid expansion under the ACA. But - like with tax reform - there is no infrastructure bill as yet in the House or Senate, or details from the White House, as officials say the specifics won't be out for a few months. "I was not a member of this committee at the time, although I would have liked to be", Sen.

Republican aides say privately they are working within the general framework of the House bill, but considering significant changes.

The other sticking point?

At the White House, GOP congressional leaders and the president discussed their agenda, "to both get health care moved ultimately to the president's desk and then to focus on cutting taxes and get the economy growing", said House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen.

- Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday chided lawmakers for their proposed budgets, saying they were socking too much away in reserve or giving too much to businesses or wealthy individuals through tax breaks and not investing enough in education and in rural areas to move North Carolina forward. "That means another 20 counties in the state of OH will have no health care plan". Cooper's budget contained only a child and dependent care tax credit. The Senate bill might keep the expansion in place beyond that date, said Republican Senator John Barrasso.

But even as GOP members attempted to portray Anthem's departure as yet another example of the failure of the health care law, the difficulty Republicans face in overhauling it on a strictly partisan basis was still on full display.

A defeat could be embarrassing to Republicans, who have long pushed the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. The Senate's effort to repeal Obamacare is over. But there is great appetite as soon as they abandon it.

While the GOP is working behind the scenes to find the votes necessary to advance their own bill to overhaul the USA health care system, achieving consensus on several complex policy matters has proved very hard. The Senate's proposal would not allow insurers to set higher prices for people with pre-existing conditions compared to healthy people.

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