Trump Says Getting GOP Health Votes Is 'Not Easy!'; Budget Score Looms

Henrietta Strickland
June 27, 2017

A handful of Senate Republicans are meeting in secret to craft a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.

The bill would cut and redesign the Medicaid program for low-income and disabled people, and erase taxes on higher earners and the medical industry that helped pay for the roughly 20 million Americans covered by Obama's law. As Vox's Sarah Kliff also explained, although pre-existing condition coverage is still required, "Building a health insurance system without an individual mandate or any replacement policy runs a significant risk of falling into a death spiral, where only the sickest people buy coverage and premiums keep ticking upward". In that scenario, insurance premiums shoot up for everyone as insurance markets become flooded with customers who disproportionately require expensive treatments. But without the support of Paul, Cruz, Lee, Johnson and Heller, passage of the bill in its current form is almost impossible, unless Republicans can manage to draw Democratic votes, which is highly unlikely.

"There really isn't a reason for those four conservative Republicans not to figure out a way to get to yes", said the ex-Pennsylvania senator and conservative standard-bearer on CNN's "State of the Union".

A conservative Republican senator who doesn't back the GOP health care bill is using unusually sharp tones to criticize party leaders. Most of the early outright opposition comes from the conservative end of the spectrum, but Heller and other moderates could bolt if leadership goes too far in trying to address the conservatives' issues. That's more than enough to torpedo the measure developed in private by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The health care legislation working its way through Congress would do much more than its stated goal of repealing and replacing Obamacare.

"We have a very good plan", Trump said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

A month before he officially launched his bid for president, Trump tweeted that he would not touch the Medicaid program. The BCRA would reduce the current path of Medicaid funding by billions of dollars over the next 10 years, though Trump surrogates argued over the weekend that the decrease in funding growth are not cuts. Senators might ignore it, she added, but they "certainly can't say, 'I never heard about it'". They don't care. The Democrats won't vote for them no matter what they do and the others aren't threatening to withdraw campaign support.

Trump said he was close to finishing a plan of his own that would have "lower numbers, much lower deductibles".

We're going to have to see what the Congressional Budget Office says about what this would do the insurance system and what it would do the federal deficit.

AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond said in a statement that the Senate bill imposes an "age tax" on older adults.

The American Childhood Cancer Organization, a charitable group formed by parents, is mobilizing a small army of grass-roots lobbyists with the message that the Senate Republican bill, with its deep cuts in Medicaid, "will threaten the lives of children battling cancer".

That was my term because I want to see - and I speak from the heart, that's what I want to see.

Senate leaders want to hold a vote on the bill before the July 4 recess that starts at the end of this week.

The measure resembles the House bill that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says would mean 23 million additional uninsured people within a decade. It would also slap annual spending caps on the overall Medicaid program, which since its inception in 1965 has provided states with unlimited money to cover eligible costs. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., in opposition.

Trump shot back in the interview, saying he has accomplished more on health care in five months than Obama or Bill Clinton did at this point in their presidencies.

ROVNER: Well, of course, there's only 52 Republicans in the Senate.

Heller said that to win his vote, GOP leaders would have to "protect Medicaid expansion states" from the bill's current cuts.

He said they had "at best, a 50-50 chance". "I'm not voting for something that looks just like Obamacare".

Collins appeared on ABC's "This Week".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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