Published: Thu, June 08, 2017
Health Care | By Jan Bell

GOP senators to get glimpse of leadership's health care ideas

GOP senators to get glimpse of leadership's health care ideas

Back on Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell downplayed the importance of the all-conference health-care session, saying that it is "just one of an ongoing series of meetings" on the issue. Senator Lindsey Graham of SC said yesterday that he's concerned there won't be enough support in the GOP.

"If Congress doesn't act to save Americans from this Democrat-inflicted catastrophe, next year is only going to be worse", President Trump said before a meeting with Mr. McConnell and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan. And considering Republican credibility on repeal-and-replace is damaged, if not shot, the Democrats' message will be compelling to a lot of voters who sense nothing but confusion from the GOP.

The health bill is now under 2017 budget reconciliation instructions, and Republicans are hoping to pass 2018 budget reconciliation instructions for tax reform.

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", Trump said Tuesday, according to pool reports.

But Republicans are staring down a legislative calendar with little to show for their hold on the House, Senate and White House.

Meanwhile, there is an underlying fact that's hard to ignore: almost six months into his presidency, he hasn't had a single major legislative accomplishment.

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But this year has been an exception, thanks in large part to Trump's unusual leadership style and the deepening investigation into his campaign's potential ties with Russian interference in the 2016 election. "Now's the time to start coming up with some tangible alternatives and building consensus", Cornyn said on Monday night. In the fall, the White House hopes to turn the focus to reconciling the budget with tax reform.

Republicans are trying to pass a health-care bill through a procedural maneuver known as reconciliation that only requires a simple majority rather than a supermajority.

"I think that the president's efforts have been helpful to us, period", he said.

But months into his administration, Trump's top legislative achievement is getting health care reform through the Republican-controlled House, a feat that took two attempts after the first failed to garner enough conservative support.

Lawmakers will deal with those issues and more as Congress comes back into session, and realistically the window for action is closing fast. During the Republican primaries, in which Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, praise this strategy.

However, both sides now need each other perhaps more than ever.

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And Susan Collins, R-Maine, a vocal moderate, said that at this point she doubts the chamber can reach the 50 votes needed to pass a healthcare bill. Rand Paul of Kentucky was "irretrievably gone" because he can't support the tax credits, so the 52-seat majority is starting at 51 votes. "I think it's our responsibility".

"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, '" Price said at the event by Healthy Tennessee and Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

One of the sticking points is Medicaid expansion.

The Republicans have been attacking Obamacare for seven years now.

Pre-existing conditions were at the heart of a heavily controversial compromise that allowed the AHCA to pass through the House of Representatives. He sees this as a new entitlement program that is outside of the role of the federal government. One is that some senators from states that have expanded Medicaid - there are 20 GOP senators from such states - are balking at the Medicaid cuts in the House bill.

If McConnell can not bridge the Medicaid divide, he may have to refocus efforts on more limited legislation to rescue insurance markets across the country that have been battered by the political turmoil in Washington.

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While Republicans debate, an increasing number of insurers have been pulling out of the market place, including in OH today. On its surface, single-payer, universal health care will be hard to beat in the face of rising premiums and onerous deductibles that Republicans can't seem to do anything about. "The Affordable Care Act has not worked".

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