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Health care on Senate Republicans' Agenda

Health care on Senate Republicans' Agenda

But even if a bill gets a majority of the votes in the Senate, there are still big questions about how and if the Senate and House could agree on a final version.

McConnell said the 13 senators who are crafting a health care bill behind closed doors are operating "almost as a committee of the whole, in conjunction with some working groups that consist of the members who are the most interested in this issue, and we're getting close to having a proposal to whip and to take to the floor".

McConnell is working with hardly any margin for error. Vice President Mike Pence met with senators for lunch June 6, but McConnell said the meeting wasn't pivotal.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Republicans have expressed differences on the Medicaid portion of the bill. Susan Collins (R-Maine) will vote for the legislation.

But even facing those challenges, there was rare optimism among Senate Republicans on Tuesday. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican.

GOP senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), have openly acknowledged that getting the votes to pass healthcare reform will be extremely hard. The House bill would eliminate enhanced federal funding for Medicaid expansion in 2020 and curtail support for the program overall. When the House of Representatives passed their version of a replacement bill, Trump held a White House ceremony.

That legislative vision appeared to sway some on-the-fence members who could prove critical to cobbling together 50 GOP votes. Sen. Crafting a bill that can pass the Senate, however, will be more hard and could meet significant delays, in our opinion.

"There should be", Republican Sen. He advocates for tying Medicaid funding to all urban consumers instead, which grows more slowly.

Yet another group, led by Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), is focused on Medicaid expansion. A lot of voters will think that Democrats are trying to give them free health care and that Republicans are against it. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, had made the high cost of many prescription drugs a major issue of her campaign.

As for health care, Short said a reconciliation bill is still expected.

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Still, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said the Senate's approach would strike a better compromise than the House did, by giving states the ability to come up with their own new restrictions on Medicaid.

The Democrats' only alternative is a single-payer system - "nothing that the American people are going to want", he said.

Another, less problematic sticking point involves the Obamacare taxes, which the House bill would nearly entirely eliminate. 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.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from SC, asked if there would be a vote on the health care bill by July 4 said "there better be". Graham never qualified for any of the main debates, Graham called out Rand Paul on foreign policy, saying that Paul was "more wrong than right" and that he would rather support Hillary Clinton over Paul had the latter won the GOP nomination. What's different now, a reporter asked him. That's a dealbreaker for many senators from states that have benefited from expansion. Conservatives are sure to oppose this idea.

Establishment Republicans remain unsure whether the Senate can repeal Obamacare by the end of the summer. "The Democrats created the mess, but we're in charge now, and it's up to us to fix it". But there is great appetite as soon as they abandon it. "That means another 20 counties in the state of OH will have no health care plan".

There was also discussion of an upcoming increase in the debt limit, leaders said.

Probation and parole officers showed up in force to urge House lawmakers against stripping their pay raise from the bill.

Faced with a Senate bill, the House would have several options: It could simply vote yes on the legislation.

There are bills that have been pushed to the back burner. The initial Republican timetable on healthcare was for President Trump to sign a bill two months ago. But given the willingness of House Republicans last month to support a bill that many of them didn't like, no one should be certain that Republicans won't compromise on their principles again.

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