Insurance lobbyists meet GOP staff on ObamaCare repeal

Angie Massey
June 22, 2017

Bill Cassidy told reporters. The measure would peel away much of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and leave government with a more limited role in providing coverage and helping people afford it.

But some Republican senators who were supposed to help write the bill have even been critical of the process. About three dozen Democrats, however, held a news conference Wednesday to say they will vote no because the bill prioritizes business tax cuts over the needs of the state's most vulnerable residents.

The survey, conducted by the University of Maryland's Program for Public Consultation, found that 63 percent of voters in "very red" districts opposed the American Health Care Act while voters in "red" or "leans red" districts were against it 63 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said he hasn't seen a draft of Senate Republicans' health care bill, but joked that the Russians have probably seen it by now. The 2010 law extended insurance coverage to millions of Americans through both subsidized private insurance and an expansion of Medicaid.

"It might be time to get the copier out", Paul said. "He believes that health care is something that is near and dear to so many families and individuals". Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has faced backlash for the perceived lack of transparency behind the health care bill negotiations, but insisted that there will be "plenty of time" for discussion. The Democrats have criticized the behind-the-scenes meetings, and blocked Senate committees on Wednesday from meeting for over two hours in protest.

Alaska moderate Lisa Murkowski said she didn't know how she'd vote, adding, "I have no idea what the deal is".

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Lobbyists say one option under consideration by leadership is using a preliminary report from the CBO to show the legislation complies with the fast-track budget procedure known as reconciliation that Republicans are using to advance it.

But if the Senate bill diverges from the House version in major ways, House conservatives are already warning it could imperil the overall GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. Even Republicans are now making light of the elusive bill.

A almost identical process played out in the House in May when the chamber passed its own repeal legislation. "We have NO details on what Republicans are cooking up behind closed doors", said Senator Chris Coons, (D) Delaware. Trump has been giving McConnell and others his feedback and suggestions, Spicer said, but he did not know if the president or senior aides have seen any draft of actual legislation. Spicer did not clearly define what kind of measure would meet the "heart" standard.

The No. 3 Senate GOP leader, John Thune of South Dakota, said Republicans were moving toward phasing out Obama's enlargement of Medicaid to additional low-income people over five or six years.

And members say there is still a long way to go before consensus is reached.

"We need to see significant improvements in reducing premiums", Cruz said. "That's what we're told it might be", said Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

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