Senate GOP aiming for vote this month on health legislation

Senate Republican leaders on Tuesday presented their caucus with a broad outline of a healthcare plan as the GOP - against the odds - looks to pass an ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill this summer.

McConnell is working with hardly any margin for error.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., in fact said last week that a vote on ObamaCare by the end of the year was "unlikely". Susan Collins (R-ME) remain skeptical towards the bill.

But even facing those challenges, there was rare optimism among Senate Republicans on Tuesday.

"Many in Washington and the media look at the vast health crises that we have facing Tennessee and the country today and they say, 'We can't afford to change our nation's health care policies at a time like this, '" said Price, a former Georgia congressman and physician, at the event sponsored by Healthy Tennessee and the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. But senators are still undecided about a number of key issues.

Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) said the Senate is discussing a "glide path" that gradually turns off the Medicaid expansion spigot, rather than the House bill that abruptly cuts it off.

Both the House and the Senate spend about $600 million less than Cooper has proposed.

That legislative vision appeared to sway some on-the-fence members who could prove critical to cobbling together 50 GOP votes. Sen.

In an interesting twist, the Senate parliamentarian is still in the process of reviewing the House-passed bill to make sure it does not violate Senate rules.

Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy suggested he was comfortable with the bill still being written, though he noted he hadn't seen final text.

Yet another group, led by Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), is focused on Medicaid expansion.

Price said Obama's ACA program is unsustainable, with rising premiums that Americans and Tennesseans can not afford on the health care exchanges. Let me just say, I watched carefully all of the hearings that went on [when the Affordable Care Act was crafted].

It's also unclear when Senate Republicans will introduce legislative text, which reveals the devil in the details and will likely only spark more controversy and dissent. The bill also would reduce federal deficits by $119 billion between 2017 and 2026, according to the analysis.

Senate Republicans have met privately for weeks on the issue and say they will have their own legislation.

The other sticking point? [Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa] was the ranking member.

"We're not even going to have a hearing on a bill that affects one sixth of our economy". And Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri echoed that the discussions are now at the "granular" level. Both could balk at the more modest Medicaid cuts and the maintenance of certain taxes; they've already been cagey about where they now stand on the bill. "On the health care proposal?" Irretrievably so, Graham said, because the bill includes refundable tax credits, which are anathema to Paul. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

Senators quoted in the Politico story seemed doubtful that the bill would pass, even if Republicans succeeded bringing it to a vote. That would bypass the usual 60-vote threshold and keep Democrats from blocking the measure.

But House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry, a Metairie Republican who handles the budget in the House, said he won't agree to any deal that involves spending every dollar available as the Senate wants. "No one wants to be here for a special session", said Rep. Gene Reynolds, the leader of the House Democrats and an opponent of the budget offer from House GOP leaders. But there is great appetite as soon as they abandon it. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) asked chairman Sen.

The Alliance for Healthcare Security- Tennessee, meanwhile, denounced Senate Republicans rushing forward with what the group charged is "a secret plan to repeal health care written only by Republicans without public hearings or expert input". The Senate's proposal would not allow insurers to set higher prices for people with pre-existing conditions compared to healthy people.

The Justice Department has appointed a special counsel to oversee its probe into the Russian Federation issue and several congressional panels are also investigating the matter. It could amend the bill and send it back to the Senate. We can and must do better than ObamaCare, but we should do it in a way that protects the most vulnerable in our society.

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