Senate rule places GOP health bill on fast track

Bill Clark  CQ Roll Call  Getty

Bill Clark CQ Roll Call Getty

President Trump and Senate GOP leaders are hoping to push forward Obamacare repeal sooner rather than later - but a number of rank-and-file Republicans expressed pessimism about the bill's progress as they unveiled their latest progress during their first conference-wide meeting since a weeklong break. The Senate plan gives more money directly to higher ed and also fully funds TOPS. At this rate, the prospects of passage in the upper chamber appear slim at best.

Also Tuesday, Trump said he's sure the Senate will get a health care bill "across the finish line" this summer.

The aide said this is the natural point the chamber was bound to get to. 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.

That move pleased some moderates but has sparked frustration among conservatives who want to allow states to repeal all of the ObamaCare regulations. Orrin Hatch, the chair of the committee, for not having a more open process in writing the bill.

"We haven't seen the final details, but simple answer. yes", Cassidy said when asked if he could support the proposal.

Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, a member of the Republican leadership team, said senators are discussing a rollback of Obamacare's expansion of the Medicaid program for low-income Americans, but not as abruptly as the House bill, H.R. 1628.

We are fortunate to live in a state with intelligent, caring representatives in the House and Senate, but they still need to hear our voices.

Signs of intraparty strain emerged Tuesday after Sen. Some have speculated that leaders may be tempted to call a Senate vote on the bill even if they know it will fail, simply to move the issue off their plate for now.

GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamFive takeaways from Comey's dramatic testimony Dems play hardball on Russian Federation sanctions Graham: Mueller has ruled out obstruction case if Comey is testifying MORE (S.C.) told reporters on Tuesday that "we've already lost [Sen.] Rand Paul, so we're down to 51". The Senate's effort to repeal Obamacare is over.

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Paul, who like Graham ran for president in 2016, quickly responded.

Senators who darted between meetings said they are considering ways to entice more people to hold insurance by making their tax credits more generous than the House's plan, perhaps adjusting the benefits by geography.

One-third of counties nationwide are down to just one insurer, Price said, adding that in Tennessee three-quarters of the counties have just one insurer and little choice.

A few senators are wary of getting rid of the expansion at all, even on a slower timeline.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, defended the process, saying it fostered comity among Republicans. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) responded "yes" as elevator doors closed. There have been no public hearings on the legislation.

McCaskill's fiery condemnation of the Republican party is an absolutely necessary reminder that those pulling the strings in both the House and the Senate now do not care about anything other than their own agenda. No Democrat is expected to vote for the GOP plan. If they allow states to opt out of the community rating provision, it fuels Democratic attacks that Republicans are gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions, something that even President Donald Trump promised he wouldn't do.

If the parliamentarian rules against them, the GOP will revert to their back up plan, which involves working within the current Obamacare subsidy structure, exactly how they would make Obamacare subsidies less costly remains unclear.

That said, there are just 18 days until the week-long Fourth of July recess, and 31 days until the five-week-long August recess. Lawmakers said preliminary discussions with the CBO have already begun. He co-authored his own Affordable Care Act replacement bill with Sen. "We've had seven years to talk about health care", he said. "We're getting closer to bringing up a proposal that we can bring up in the near future", McConnell told reporters.