Dems say they'll slow Senate work over secretive care bill

President Donald Trump walks with National Security Adviser H.R. Mc Master on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday. Trump recently told Republican senators that the health care bill passed in the House is “mean” and urged them to craft a

President Donald Trump walks with National Security Adviser H.R. Mc Master on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday. Trump recently told Republican senators that the health care bill passed in the House is “mean” and urged them to craft a"more

Progressive groups, abortion-rights advocates and labor unions are urging Senate Democrats to slow work to a crawl to prevent Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from passing a health-care bill before a weeklong July 4 recess. However, the bill does still allow states to choose whether to require insurers to cover essential health benefits, which include emergency room care, hospitalization, maternity care, and prescription medicines. While this will not prevent any measure from passing, it can slow down proceedings significantly. Even more so, they complain, investigations into Russian election meddling and Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey have crowded health care off the front pages.

One of the so-called "improvements" that has leaked out: People will be thrown off Medicaid more slowly under McConnellcare than under Ryancare.

Trump has reportedly "been stung by the non-stop negative news coverage of the House bill, particularly reports that more than 20 million people or more could lose insurance". The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it would cause 23 million more Americans to be without health insurance by 2016. In the Kaiser Health Tracking poll, only 8 percent said they wanted it passed. "This is a red-alert moment".

Also watch for the Medicaid expansion to be phased out more slowly than the steep cliff proposed by House Republicans.

With Republicans intending to bring their health care legislation directly to the floor of the Senate, they will bypass the committee process altogether.

But it's not as easy as simply summarizing the priorities of the 52-member Senate Republican conference. A wide variety of GOP senators have complained publicly that they have no idea what the Republican proposal entails.

The clock is ticking.

"They're ashamed of the bill", said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to the New York Times Thursday.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with the Republican plan isn't a solution, it's an assault on women and the beginnings of a serious national healthcare crisis.

Republican Conference Committee Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said the process of writing a healthcare bill has included all GOP senators rather than only those belonging to healthcare-related committees and thus can not be considered secretive.

"The Senate is not a place where you can just cook up something behind closed doors and rush it for a vote", said Sen. Write to Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Bob Corker (R-South Carolina), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana). If McConnell puts a bill on the Senate floor using the fast-track process to avoid a filibuster, they want Democrats to delay debate by offering numerous amendments. He declined to comment on whether the president believed the House-passed bill was "mean" and said the administration felt "very good" about the progress the Senate is making on the bill. It would cut Medicaid for the poor, the disabled and seniors in nursing homes. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, Patty Murray, D-Washington and Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, sent a letter to top Republicans asking that they schedule hearing to discuss, debate and hear testimony about "the health care bill that you are now drafting in secret". Hatch is the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, one of the panels with ostensible jurisdiction over the bill.

Even without outside pressure, Senate Republicans have struggled to coalesce around an Obamacare replacement bill, with moderates and conservatives in the party pushing in different directions.

While we acknowledge that comparing the ACA's completed legislative process to one that's still ongoing isn't entirely congruent, it remains plainly obvious that Republicans misconstrued the narrative surrounding the ACA and are also engaging in the practice of rushing their own bill through Congress.

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