Senate holds key to better health care insurance

Angie Massey
May 20, 2017

Though House Republicans celebrated the bill - even carting in cases of beer after the vote - lawmakers and pundits on both sides of the aisle agreed that the Senate was unlikely to pass the bill as it was written. Ryan argued that "we would spell disaster for ourselves, politically. if we go back on our word".

Instead of just knee-jerk resistance - the format Democrats have chosen in the first 100-plus days of the Trump administration - we implore Casey and other Democrat senators to join in the substantive input needed to improve the bill. "We're going to draft our bill, and I'm convinced we will take the time to do it right".

NBC News is only aware of one CBO score that the GOP had received for its health care legislation, and that was provided for an older version of the bill that failed to make it to the floor of Congress.

CBO's analysis highlighted an $880 billion cut to Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for the poor and disabled, which Price sought to cast as a way to give states more leeway to experiment with the program. Trump has said "Obamacare" is failing as insurers pull out of markets, forcing premiums and deductibles to rise. Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, a Scranton Democrat, says the bill is a punch in the gut to middle-class families in Pennsylvania.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the Senate will come up with a "new, fresh approach" to health care rather than rigidly follow the Obamacare replacement bill narrowly passed by the House on Thursday. It would dilute consumer-friendly insurance coverage requirements, like prohibiting higher premiums for customers with pre-existing medical conditions and watering down the subsidies that help consumers afford health insurance.

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On "State of the Union" earlier Sunday morning, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price defended the cuts to Medicaid, saying they will give "states greater flexibility" under the bill. "And I hope and pray that they are going to write a much bigger bill".

On Sunday, he urged Republican senators to not fail the American people.

"But most importantly, it's us trying to fix a real problem that real people are experiencing in this country". Unknown at this point, 18 months before the election, is how the health care vote could complicate that. Collins and Ryan appeared on ABC's "This Week" and Mulvaney appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation".

Other reports by GizPress

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