Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Democrats Wary of GOP Health Care Hedging

Democrats Wary of GOP Health Care Hedging

Senate Budget rules allow GOP leaders to scrap almost every element of the health legislation that passed the House.

President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday, "I'm sure the Senate will follow through and get a bill across the finish line this summer that will be great health care for Americans".

His comments came after the leaders met with President Trump at the White House to discuss health care reform.

Partisan bickering over the law dates back to before it was even passed more than seven years ago.

"We're getting close to having a proposal to whip and take to the floor", the Kentucky Republican told reporters.

The GOP's plan to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) through the Senate budget reconciliation process may be hung up on abortion restrictions included in the House's health care bill. But senators are still undecided about a number of key issues. But Republican lawmakers remain divided on healthcare after the House of Representatives passed a bill to replace Obamacare in May.

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"Oh, absolutely", Cornyn said. We're still looking at those key goals and how to get there.

Several senators said Tuesday they were encouraged by the progress so far - a marked change of tone from colleagues who painted a grim picture of the next steps on health care during last week's congressional recess.

"We're going to have a vote one way or the other", he said.

Senate leaders have said they will bring up a bill for a vote even it lacks the support to pass. "I was not a member of this committee at the time, although I would have liked to be", Sen.

"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.

"What we've been told so far, states would have the ability, a lot more power than they do under Obamacare, to shape their future, and I think we've gotta return the power to the states", Cassidy said, seemingly referring to a proposal to set per-capita limits on Medicaid, which would push states to put tougher restrictions on who's eligible for that program.

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"The sooner we can do that the better and obviously it gives us time to work through whatever differences there are between our bill and the House bill", Thune said.

Some aides and outside observers have even floated the possibility that McConnell would bring the bill up for a vote even if he did not have all the votes, pointing to the need to move on to tax reform and the must-pass issues, like the debt ceiling and funding the government, on Congress' plate in the fall.

According to Senate GOP aides familiar with negotiations, Republican leaders don't want to let states opt out of what is known as community rating - a provision that blocks insurance companies from charging people more based on their medical history.

The House healthcare bill could result in 23 million people losing insurance, the Congressional Budget Office estimated, although Republicans have challenged that conclusion. But the other option is spending more money which is also hard for many to accept. But as Republicans cast doubt on their prospects of passing a wholesale repeal bill this year, Democrats are forcefully making the case there are potential areas of bipartisan cooperation.

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Behind the scenes, the idea of auto-enrollment has become a flash point for conservatives who say it's no different than a mandate.

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