Facing defections, Senate GOP leaders delay health care vote

Frederick Owens
June 28, 2017

Lee was among four conservatives who announced last week that they were against the current version of the legislation.

Even Republicans who expect to vote for the bill recognized the CBO score didn't do McConnell any favors.

"I would not bet against Mitch McConnell", his House counterpart, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Ohio, told reporters.

With no Democratic support, GOP leaders will need at least 50 of their 52 members to vote for the bill in order to advance it forward. And he's saying it because it's less very bad than admitting the truth, which is that the high-deductible insurance that will be available is crappy but still too expensive for low-income people to buy, because the bill takes the money needed to make it affordable and uses it for a tax cut for wealthy investors. Low-income Americans would be hit especially hard as Medicaid would be severely cut and premium subsidies slashed.

Trump spent part of the weekend placing phone calls to a handful of these lawmakers, focusing on senators who supported his candidacy - Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky. Capito and another moderate, Sen. "I will vote no on [a motion to proceed]".

Lee and other conservatives have favored a fuller repeal of Obama's statute than the Senate bill would enact.

"Medicaid would continue to be funded", Conway said, just before criticizing former President Obama of not keeping costs down.

Minutes after the CBO report's release, three GOP senators threatened to oppose beginning debate.

Susan Collins of ME is the latest Republican senator to come out against the proposal.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: " Preliminary analysis of the Senate bill released today shows the proposal could greatly harm millions of cancer patients, survivors and those at risk for the disease".

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While Republicans have trumpeted the legislation as fulfilling their years-long promises to repeal Obamacare, it's clear they are using their base's anger to push through another conservative priority: slashing entitlement spending.

Moderate Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said Friday he'd oppose the procedural motion without alterations.

President Donald Trump promised during his campaign that he would "save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts". However, last month Trump and the GOP were able to pass the bill through the House and onto the Senate, where it now awaits further debate and a vote.

Minutes earlier, McConnell divulged the decision to GOP senators at a private lunch also attended by Vice President Mike Pence and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.

There were some positive points: the legislation would decrease federal deficits by $321bn over a decade, the budget office said. Keep in mind that almost every school district in America relies on Medicaid to make it possible for many special education and medically fragile children to attend school.

The change penalizes people who go without health insurance for 63 consecutive days, prohibiting them from purchasing a new plan for six months.

However, the Senate bill slashes more than $770bn from Medicaid, leaving 15 million fewer people covered, according to the CBO.

Steve Kelly, Toomey's press secretary, said that when the Senator said "no one loses coverage" he was referring to federal eligibility for expanded Medicaid and was not saying no single person would lose coverage.

CBO said that under the bill, most insurance markets around the country would be stable before 2020.

But the office said that overall, the Senate legislation would increase out of pocket costs for deductibles and copayments.

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