Saturday, 19 August, 2017

Republican senator says Republican health care bill is too Republican

Kristopher Nichols | 26 June, 2017, 13:53

And Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and his colleagues are determined to get rid of it. Republicans hold 52 out of 100 Senate seats, so they can afford only two defections; in that case, Vice President Mike Pence would be brought in to break a 50-50 tie.

So far, a majority of the Senate have expressed promises to vote "no" on the bill; according to statements made by senators, 55 senators oppose the bill, 17 support it and 28 are unclear.

But tweaks to appease the four conservatives could alienate Heller and other moderates, or vice versa.

The only "improvement" the Senate version offers over the House plan is that it would wait longer to destroy Medicare recipients' coverage.

Nonetheless, Heller's announcement underscores the scant margin of error Republican leaders must deal with. Revealed on Thursday, the bill remains deeply unpopular, and with the vote looming on the horizon, prominent Democrats and progressives are speaking out - including the party's 2016 presidential nominee.

Cantwell is hoping to organize opposition to the bill.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that the House version of bill would leave 23 million people uninsured. They could cut who's eligible. Most people who use Medicaid are pretty thrilled with it because, in a shocking turn of events, people really enjoy having affordable effective health insurance.

The bill proposes phasing out Medicaid's expansion program and capping Medicaid spending, repealing Obamacare taxes and restructuring subsidies to insurance customers.

Critics, including former President Barack Obama, have called the Republican bills massive transfers of wealth from the poor and sick to the rich. Giaimo said there is truth to that because under "Obamacare", subsidies and Medicaid expansions were funded by tax penalties and higher premiums for those who earned more. The annual growth rate of state Medicaid funds would grow at the pace of the consumer price index for all goods, a slower rate than in the House measure, which sets it at the consumer price index for medical services.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said Friday he will not vote for the Senate's Obamacare replacement bill as now written.

"It's going to be very hard to get me to a yes", he said.

Some Democrats are holding events this weekend to stand up against the bill. He added that Nevada "is one of the most improved states in the country" in expanding coverage.

Some lawmakers are raising concern that the Senate health care bill could aggravate the problem of healthy people going without insurance, driving up costs for everyone else.

However, it's important to note the language Heller used in his statement about the bill, which he delivered standing by the side of his state's popular governor, Brian Sandoval.

Heller got an opponent for next year when first-year Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen announced this week she would seek his Senate seat. Already, four conservative senators have said they're not at the moment supporting the current form of the bill, but it seems likely that at least some of them can won be back with another round of negotiations.

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