March 22 2018

Nevada's Heller opposes GOP health bill

March 22 2018, 03:56 | Rex Rios

Evan Vucci AP

Evan Vucci  AP

Republicans in the U.S. Senate on Thursday unveiled a draft bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said Friday he will not vote for the Senate's Obamacare replacement bill as now written.

"If there's dissent on Medicaid, why don't we come back in six months and say, you know what, let's work with Democrats", Paul said.

Senate Republicans have little margin for error as they prepare for a vote this coming week on a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Rep. Andy Harris, speaking Friday to C4, downplayed the differences between the House and Senate takes on health care reform, and defended controversial provisions and bipartisan criticism of the process that led up to the Senate bill's unveiling.

Mr Trump has now acknowledged in an interview with Fox News that a lack of support from the four Republicans leaves the party's overhaul of former President Barack Obama's signature healthcare policy on a "very, very narrow path" to victory. So McConnell will need support from at least 50 of his 52 senators to pass the bill.

"This bill may change, but Republicans will only be putting lipstick on a devastating blow to Americans' health care", said Sen.

"I can not imagine that these very fine Republican Senators would allow the American people to suffer a broken ObamaCare any longer!" he wrote.

"I think that they'll probably get there, we'll have to see", President Trump said.

Heller is one of five GOP senators opposing the bill. The Michigan Democrat believes the Senate bill would cut coverage while increasing costs.

In response to calls by moderates to more slowly phase in the Medicaid program cuts, the Senate version would gradually reduce the federal share of the cost from 90 beginning in 2021 until it drops to 57 percent in 2024. But not all Republicans fully support this legislation.

Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has rejected the plan along with fellow Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, said fundamental problems still remain that would leave taxpayers subsidizing health insurance companies.

However, the hard break that Heller made with the Senate bill on means any negotiations McConnell and his allies are likely to have with the conservative wing of the party will be fraught at best. Even President Trump reportedly called a different version of the bill mean.

But it repeals the individual mandate requiring people to buy health insurance without creating incentives for Americans to stay in their plans.

However, the Senate bill would maintain much of Obamacare's subsidy structure to help people pay for individual coverage, but make it less generous, particularly for older enrollees.

Other news