November 19 2017

Louisiana House leaders want to pare spending in budget deal

November 19 2017, 12:53 | Irvin Gilbert

J. Scott Applewhite AP

Sen. Bill Cassidy R-La. speaks to reporters outside the Senate Chamber about President Trump's speech to Congress during the vote to confirm Ryan Zinke as President Donald Trump’s secretary of the Department of the Interior on Capitol Hill in W

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that the House passed in May was meant to be one of three phases of the effort because of limitations Republicans face in moving the measure through the budget reconciliation process.

If the Senate passes a bill in the next month, as they reportedly would like to do, they then must negotiate a compromise with the House of Representatives and pass the bill again.

"We're getting close to having a proposal to whip and to take to the floor", Mr. McConnell said.

"The Senate I'm sure will follow suit and get a bill across the finish line this summer that will be great health care for Americans", President Trump said in May.

It's likely, the report says, that the Senate will take a more-moderate approach compared with that of the House by delaying the end of the PPACA's Medicaid expansion, by offering more protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and by beefing up tax credits for low-income and older Americans.

Brady's reluctant conclusion: He and other Republican lawmakers must immediately reassure insurers that Washington will continue to make billions of dollars in subsidy payments that make health premiums more affordable for about 7 million low-income policyholders. Cassidy had said the Senate's bill must pass the "Jimmy Kimmel test" to ensure families can afford health care for children with pre-existing health conditions.

In this March 24, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price are seen in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. They only got one, Rep. Kenny Havard, who earlier in the session publicly criticized his House colleagues' loyalty to business lobbyists rather than than the needs of their constituents and the state.

McConnell told reporters Tuesday that Republicans are nearing introduction of their health plan, but he gave no details and some members, including Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah, said they're not expecting action on a bill anytime soon. The Senate's effort to repeal Obamacare is over. In addition, the current plan is to have the bill deal exclusively with budgetary matters so it can pass the Senate with a simple majority and avoid a filibuster, which limits the scope of what it can address. "On the other hand, I like the coverage and I know that's been instrumental in expanding coverage".

The CBPP analysis also found that changes in the House bill would increase Medicaid out-of-pocket costs, making it hard for those over 60 years old and poor to afford coverage. Senators also are debating how much to reduce federal funding for Medicaid as compared to current law.

The original House spending plan - backed by Republicans in the chamber, but opposed by almost all Democrats - sought to leave $206 million unspent in the financial year that begins July 1, even though the state income forecast predicts the dollars will be available. How and whether to unwind states' Medicaid expansion presents the biggest hurdle, as a number of Republican senators in states that expanded coverage are deeply opposed to throwing people off healthcare.

The Senate is now debating changes to the AHCA needed to get through the divisive politics of the upper chamber, where they can afford to lose the votes of only two of the 52 Republicans, in a scenario where Vice President Mike Pence would break a tie.

Democrats have pointed to that strategy as irrefutable proof that Republicans have no interest in reaching across the aisle on health care.

According to one source, the document shared with members on Tuesday excluded a provision that would allow state waivers for community rating rules - something that was added to the House bill shortly before its passage.

That would pass. There's a lot of stuff we don't like about Obamacare that we agree on, ' Paul said.

The best path forward for the Senate is to start over. More than a half dozen moderates and conservatives have threatened to bolt unless their concerns are met. House GOP leaders say the Senate version of the budget depends on unreliable financing and would lead to midyear cuts. "I don't want to pull the rug out from under anyone", Johnson said, "but let's not leave the rug out there for a couple more years to have more people stand on the rug". "So how can they do that?" The Senate had approved its version of HB1 on Saturday.

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