Senate GOP aiming for vote this month on health legislation

Posted June 07, 2017

The Senate parliamentarian ruled that the House bill can advance under the strict rules of reconciliation, a legislative vehicle that enable Republicans to pass health care with 51 votes instead of 60 but also mandates that the legislation must save money.

Trump will hold talks at the White House at 3 p.m. (1900 GMT) with leaders including House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Cornyn.

The other major concern for some Republicans is that the working group offered to keep in place the Obamacare community rating regulations, which disallowed health insurance companies from charging different premiums regardless of geographic area, age, gender or health status. But the current five-year user fee plan expires September 30, and key lawmakers in both parties have said there isn't time to re-open the pending agreement, which FDA and industry representatives negotiated over almost two years. "We either go or we don't".

"They're willing to look at anything at this point", a GOP Senate aide responded.

Senate Republicans face a series of hard decisions in crafting the bill they hope to vote on by the end of the month, including how to protect older, sicker and lower-income consumers who would see huge insurance premium hikes under the House bill. "Best to get it over with and move on to things Republicans are good at". "We want it to be revenue neutral, and we are still supportive of tax reform, but I am also saying to you that what we believe is most important to get the economy going is the tax cuts", he said.

Good morning. The Senate's back in town after a mixed bag of recess town-halls, and ready for a decidedly even more mixed bag of tough policy decisions. Rank-and-file Republicans claimed progress after yet another closed-door meeting Tuesday, yet hedged on whether they'll muster the votes for passage. But lawmakers emerging from the room were tight-lipped about what exactly is on the table.

After Paul threatened to filibuster former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani or former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton if they were nominated for secretary of State, Graham knocked the libertarian-leaning senator, saying, "You could put the number of Republicans who will follow Rand Paul's advice on national security in a very small vehicle".

"The big print giveth". "And I'm looking forward to seeing it, so looking forward to seeing it".

"I'm not going to go into details".

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., a key moderate in the GOP's health debate, said that he was more optimistic about the Senate plan than he had been. Many Republicans, including top aides working on the GOP health plan, said they need to vote on health care and move on by early July, even if that means voting on a bill that fails.

They point to raucous early town halls in Republican districts and a special election in a reliably Republican district where a 30-year-old former congressional staffer has raised more than $20 million. "It's certainly an ambitious agenda we've got, there's no question about it, it has been all along and I wouldn't have it any other way".

Lawmakers remain split over what to do about Medicaid.

Medicaid was expanded under Obamacare but the House bill would phase that expansion out in 2020. The White House's legislative push heading into the summer, he added, will be on healthcare and the fiscal year 2018 budget. The funding level would increase annually based on the medical inflation rate in the Consumer Price Index, which grows more quickly than the standard inflation rate.

If Republicans don't act fast, Democrats will pitch their plan for single-payer, universal health care as a choice between something that costs individuals less versus more, that is simpler versus more complicated, that leads to greater equality versus more inequality.

Tax Reform: Of the major issues the GOP has promised to address in the near term, tax reform is probably both the closest to the heart of both McConnell and Ryan and the farthest from any sort of resolution.

During the Republican primaries, in which Sen.

"The leader would like to do this soon", Senator Orrin Hatch told reporters. Irretrievably so, Graham said, because the bill includes refundable tax credits, which are anathema to Paul.

The differing ideas reflect not only contrasts in policy but sensitivities to opposite ends of the political spectrum, with some concerned about an electoral backlash from centrist or left-leaning voters who oppose major changes to Obamacare and others anxious a less aggressive assault on the ACA will leave right-leaning opponents of the law dispirited.