Senators worry about rush over healthcare bill ahead of release

Cheryl Sanders
June 22, 2017

Barrasso's comments come as Senate Republican leaders are preparing to release a draft of their bill Thursday with the goal of a possible Senate vote before the July 4 recess. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pauses as he speaks following a closed-door strategy session at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 20, 2017.

He said "a few votes from the Democrats, it could be so easy" and "so beautiful".

"I'll let Sen. McConnell determine the Senate schedule and run the Senate that he sees fit", Spicer said. But Senator John Thune, a member of the Republican leadership, said on Tuesday the phase-out in the bill might just be three years.

"I think it helps when he speaks to the specifics of what we're trying to accomplish here", said Sen.

Republicans insist that Obamacare is collapsing and say they are on what amounts to a rescue mission.

Before enacting the Affordable Care Act in 2009, Democrats in Congress held many hearings over many months so that the bill could be carefully considered. In a 50-50 tally, Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote.

Both the House and Senate are voting on an $11.7 billion, two-year spending plan negotiated by a committee of conference after the Senate passed an $11.8 billion plan in May and the House rejected an $11.9 billion plan in April. But as of now, victory is not guaranteed and he stopped short of definitely scheduling the vote for next week. And another conservative, Sen. Democrats have also criticized the behind-the-scenes meetings, staging a protest on the Senate floor on Monday.

McConnell, the Senate majority leader, is viewed inside the White House and around Washington as a master of the Senate, someone who knows his caucus and what it will take to get a bill passed.

Conservative Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said he had not yet seen the Senate bill.

It would permit states to opt out of Obamacare coverage requirements, including the one barring insurers from charging more to cover people with pre-existing health conditions.

They said unresolved questions included how to make sure the subsidies can't be used for policies that provide abortions and how fast they can repeal tax boosts Obama levied on high earners and medical companies to finance his statute's expanded coverage. Many Republicans have long fought that organization because it provides abortions. That might satisfy Republican senators from states that expanded their programs, but conservatives have wanted to halt the extra expenditures quickly.

During the public portion of the event - when reporters were invited in - Trump undercut the House bill, saying more funding was needed to make it "generous, kind (and) with heart".

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