January 24 2018

Republicans Push for Health Care Vote With Support Uncertain

January 24 2018, 01:49 | Van Peters

Donald Trump blasts Republicans who are against Graham-Cassidy proposal

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally of health care advocates grassroots activists and others outside the Capitol on Tuesday. Sanders pursues a “Medicare for all” bill while Senate Republicans begin another push to repeal the Affordable Care Act

The CBO score's main objective is to ensure that the legislation meets its saving targets required under reconciliation, the process that allows Senate Republicans to pass the health care bill with 51 votes.

Several Republicans on Monday continued to express doubt or opposition to the bill, despite revisions meant to gain their support for the legislation, sponsored by Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and South Carolina's Lindsey Graham, required federal approval for such action.

In hopes of finding more backing, Republican senators leading the effort released a changed version of their bill that included a table showing some states where senators have been undecided, such as Alaska and ME, would get more money.

The only way Republicans could revive the bill would be to change opposing senators' minds, something they've been trying unsuccessfully to do for months.

"The media is making it sound like this Republican repeal attempt is doomed, but Trump is still pushing hard and we are still in a full "RED ALERT" moment", Langholz wrote.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, considered to be a "yes" vote, said Sunday that the bill, as written, did not now have his support.

Collins' criticisms included the bill's cuts in the Medicaid program for low-income people and the likelihood that it would result in many losing health coverage and paying higher premiums.

However, McCain's refusal to support the initiative last week was enough to kill the draft by breaking the GOP's fragile majority in Senate.

The Congressional Budget Office is now assessing the consequences of Graham-Cassidy, but GOP leaders are in such a hurry to vote on the measure that the budget office says an analysis it plans to release this week will be incomplete, especially with regard to coverage and premiums, the most important aspects of the bill. - Leading U.S. bishops have applauded pro-life provisions in the newest GOP health care proposal, but said that substantial changes are needed in other areas to make the bill morally acceptable.

Two of the states that now would fare the worst, OR and Minnesota, would lose 17 percent and 15 percent, respectively, of their federal funding between 2020 and 2026 relative to the current law. The State could continue to receive funding equal to 95% of federal premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies, as well as the federal match for Medicaid expansion.

But despite the new version, there are still plenty of obstacles ahead. Protesters started lining up outside the hearing room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building at 6:00am; the hearing was not scheduled to begin until 2:00pm. Changes aimed at galvanizing GOP support produced no apparent additional votes as time was running out for the White House and party leaders. Still, Republicans might want to do it to put all senators on the record.

Adding urgency to the matter, Republicans have until September 30 to make use of special budget rules under which they can pass a repeal bill with only a simple majority, rather than needing Democratic votes.

Another major focus for the week will be tax reform.

- The bill was released less than two weeks ago. And the hasty revisions could only strengthen concern that Congress would be moving forward on a bill that has not been properly vetted. The president also seemed resigned to the bill's defeat on Monday morning when he said, "So we're gonna lose two or three votes and that's the end of that".

The rewriting came as Republicans gird for a final, uphill push to deliver the party's long-time promise to obliterate Obama's 2010 law.

But by Monday afternoon, GOP Sens.

Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone will appear Tuesday before the House intelligence committee. That number could grow as soon as Monday when Maine Republican Sen. Luther Strange would be a setback for both Trump and McConnell. The GOP establishment in Washington - including President Donald Trump - is backing unusual but the outspoken conservative judge could still pull out a win.

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