Heller won't back Senate GOP health care bill

Angie Massey
June 24, 2017

Protesters from Mainers for Accountable leadership gathered Friday evening on the sidewalk across from the Senator Inn & Spa said they are concerned for themselves and their families should the Republican health care bills pass. "To every veteran who is here with us today, I just want to say two very simple words: Thank you".

After Spicer spoke, Republican Senator Dean Heller became the fifth Republican opponent on Friday, saying he would not support the bill in its current form.

"It's going to be very hard to get me to a yes", he said, noting that conservative Republican senators would likely be reluctant to add spending back to the measure.

In a statement after a draft of the "Better Care Reconciliation Act" was released Thursday, Heller said he made clear during debate over the bill that he wanted to "make sure the rug is not pulled out from under Nevada or the more than 200,000 Nevadans who received insurance for the first time under Medicaid expansion".

"Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor".

UNDECIDED: 10 senators - Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Marco Rubio of Florida, Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, James Risch of Idaho, John McCain of Arizona, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of SC.

Any new Senate bill would have to be reconciled with the House version.

White House officials said on Friday that Mr Trump has been in touch with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and made calls on Thursday and Friday to other lawmakers. Montana Sen. Jon Tester said the bill "will protect whistleblowers from the threat of retaliation". It gets rid of many of Obamacare's taxes on the wealthy, defunds Planned Parenthood, ends subsidies for low-income Americans to buy health insurance after 2019, and makes deep cuts to Medicaid as well as phasing out states' Medicaid expansion. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. And Susan Collins of ME reiterated her opposition to language blocking federal money for Planned Parenthood, which many Republicans oppose because it provides abortions. Nor would they want to, she said.

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That could add Mr Heller's name to Mr Trump's call list.

During the Obama years - whether leading the GOP minority or as Senate majority leader since 2015 - McConnell was a key player on several must-pass items: a 2011 budget and debt deal; an early 2013 "fiscal cliff" tax bill; and several "omnibus" spending packages.

The GOP-controlled Senate bill introduced Thursday would phase out federal money to states which opted to expand the low-income health insurance program.

"The Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act is nothing more than a warmed-over version of the House bill, which would cause great harm to the health and economic security of hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans".

Continues the radical restructuring of Medicaid by permanently capping and reducing the funding needed to serve 1.6 million New Jersey seniors, people with disabilities and children. The bill would also convert Medicaid funding into a per-capita cap program and offer states the option to apply for funding as a block grant.

"We have people who are working jobs who qualify for Medicaid simply because their yearly income is at such a level", she said. That would focus the aid more on people with lower incomes than the House legislation, which bases its subsidies on age.

"It's not that they're opposed", he said. And we know that there needs to be something that helps keep healthy people in the pool because if we leave people to their own devices to buy health insurance when they get sick, it will just drive the costs up for everybody. "Well, they're also four good guys, four friends of mine, and I think that they'll probably get there", he said.

Democrats hope to use those rules to erase some language from the bill, including a section barring consumers from using the measure's health care tax credits to buy insurance that covers abortions. They don't like how expensive premiums have gotten.

Other reports by GizPress

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