Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
National | By Mildred Castro

Urge Republican senators to oppose secret health care bill

Urge Republican senators to oppose secret health care bill

Senate Republicans have said they have no plans to publicly release the draft health care bill.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are planning to highlight the secrecy surrounding the Republican bill, saying they will debate the issue "late into the evening" in a series of floor speeches Tuesday.

The aide said Democrats will begin slowing work on bills by refusing to let the Senate bypass time-consuming procedural steps, which it customarily does on most legislation.

Eight years ago, when then-President Barack Obama introduced his signature health care reform, the Affordable Care Act, Republicans shouted and cried that the bill was being kept under wraps and rammed down the throats of the American people.

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While the GOP has railed against Obamacare for years, there's one pillar of the health care law that plenty of Republican lawmakers now say is pivotal for their constituents: Medicaid expansion.

When the House was debating the health-care bill earlier in the year, a significant grassroots campaign against the measure almost derailed it, as Republican lawmakers were bombarded by hostile questions and large crowds in town halls back home. It won't continue progress toward health-care coverage for all Americans made under Obamacare, but will do considerable harm. Medicaid now covers more than 70 million low-income people. Objecting to unanimous consent forces Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to go through the cloture process, extending debate on any matter at hand for as many 30 hours.

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. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said the House measure would raise costs for many older and lower income people while causing 23 million people to lose insurance over a decade.

"Nobody's hiding the ball here", the Kentucky Republican said last week. A wide variety of GOP senators have complained publicly that they have no idea what the Republican proposal entails. But GOP senators still disagree on a number of key issues, such as what to do with Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, taxes and tax credits.

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Schumer's letter included a list of 31 conference rooms that are available for public hearings.

That's why we have backed congressional efforts to forge a better law to offer Americans more choices and states more leeway to help citizens gain coverage.

While a good number of Senate GOP members have also expressed frustration about the closed-door process being used to pass the bill, none have publicly rejected the tactic.

Democrats have recently ramped up their criticism of the GOP for attempting to pass such momentous and potentially devastating legislation without revealing any of their plans to the public. Or it could be forced to cancel its monthlong August recess as intra-party divisions over the American Health Care Act (not to mention the big items standing behind it in the queue) drag on.

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