Wolf, Casey call on Senate Republicans to save Medicaid

Cheryl Sanders
June 18, 2017

Republican Senator Joni Ernst is urging GOP leaders in the Senate to embrace "transparency" and give the public a chance to review the Senate GOP's alternative health care bill before the senate votes on the plan.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer engaged in dueling statements on Friday over health care, one day after the two men expressed hope of more cooperation in a joint interview.

This week, Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen announced he was offering a proposal to the Trump administration to try to rebuild the individual market by restructuring premium tax credits, establishing a state-based high-risk pool and offering a single, standardized insurance plan.

"It is deeply disturbing", Erika Sward, assistant vice president of the American Lung Association, told the Associated Press. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said the House measure would raise costs for many older and lower income people while causing 23 million people to lose insurance over a decade. That was an extraordinary slap at legislation that Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., guided through the House and that Trump himself had championed and praised at a Rose Garden ceremony.

Since Senate Republicans are not sharing the contents of their drafts with either the Democrats or their own senators, it is impossible to say how different of alike the two bills would be. It's not clear when a vote will come, but Republican leaders had targeted action before the July 4 recess.

The House bill would help some people - the wealthiest Americans who would benefit from a massive tax cut, said Maine's other senator, independent Angus King, in a floor speech Wednesday.

Republicans in Congress are bumping up against a harsh reality: "Repeal Obamacare" might sound good on the campaign trail, but it doesn't look so good when you find out who gets hurt. During the James Comey testimony in the Senate, Republicans in the House snuck through a vote to roll back Dodd Frank financial rules that President Obama enacted to protect the public from unscrupulous banking practices.

"I think we felt very strongly that the majority of the members of that conference committee had signed that, and I think that truly reflects the majority of the Legislature as a whole", said Armstead, R-Kanawha. Republican leadership have said they will vote on the bill once they are sure they have the 50 votes they need.

The group included Republicans John Kasich of Ohio, Brain Sandoval of Nevada, and Charles Baker of MA.

Montana Democratic Governor Steve Bullock, among the letter's signers, questioned Trump's position in light of his conflicting statements.

The seven all opted to accept terms of the 2010 law that allowed their states to receive additional federal money to expand the number of people covered by Medicaid. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the subcommittee's chairman, said he "wouldn't intend to be part of writing a bill this year that reduces funding for the National Institutes of Health", which faces big cuts.

Mitch McConnell and a select few Republican members of the Senate are now drafting a piece of legislation that represents one-sixth of our nation's economy and jeopardizes the healthcare of millions of Americans - and nobody, not even the people who will be voting on its passage - has any idea of what's in it.

When the leader of the Senate wants to hide major legislation, that's a hint he doesn't think it will be popular.

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