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Senate Republicans Struggling To Salvage “Healthcare” Bill

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Senate Republicans Struggling To Salvage “Healthcare” Bill

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. Senate Republican struggled on Wednesday to salvage major healthcare legislation sought by President Donald Trump, meeting privately with a parade of skeptical senators as critics within the party urged substantial changes.

Republican leaders hope to agree on changes to the legislation by Friday so lawmakers can take it up after next week’s Independence Day recess. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday abandoned plans to seek passage of it this week because Senate Republicans did not have 50 votes to pass the bill.

For seven years, Republicans have led a quest to undo the 2010 law known as Obamacare, Democratic former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement. Trump made dismantling it a top campaign promise during last year’s presidential campaign but policy differences within the party have raised doubts Republicans can achieve a repeal.

Democrats have unified against the bill and Republicans control the Senate by a slim 52-48 margin, which means McConnell can afford to lose only two Republicans. So far at least 10 – including moderates and hard-line conservatives – have expressed opposition to the current bill, although some indicated they would vote for it with certain changes.

McConnell, with his reputation as a strategist on the line, met with a procession of Republican senators in his office on Wednesday. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said party leaders will talk to every Republican senator who has concerns about the bill or is undecided.

The House of Representatives passed its healthcare bill last month, only after striking a balance between the center of the party and the right wing. Now McConnell must find a similar sweet spot.

During a lunch meeting on Wednesday, Senate Republicans made presentations on potential fixes. Senator Rand Paul called for jettisoning more parts of Obamacare to get conservatives on board.

Senator Mike Rounds suggested keeping a 3.8 percent Obamacare tax on high earners’ investment income, which the current bill would eliminate. Rounds said the tax could pay for more Americans to receive the tax credits that help pay for health insurance.

Senator Bob Corker, who also supports keeping the tax, said one of the issues he was focused on was helping lower-income Americans pay for health plans.

“My sense is there’s a good chance that issue and other issues people are trying to get addressed can be addressed,” Corker told reporters.

Trump said the bill was moving along well and predicted a “great, great surprise” but did not elaborate.

Maine Senator Susan Collins, a moderate, said it would be “very difficult” to reach agreement by Friday. Collins and other centrists were put off by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s projection on Monday that 22 million people would lose medical insurance under the existing bill.

Finishing the legislation’s revisions by Friday would be “optimal,” Cornyn said, so the CBO can analyze the new version..

Even then, Democrats could mount a forceful resistance. They have repeatedly said they will not discuss a repeal but have expressed openness to negotiating improvements.

The Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, proposed Trump call all 100 senators to Blair House across the street from the White House to craft a bipartisan bill fixing Obamacare but Trump said did not think Schumer’s offer was serious.

McConnell said Democrats had refused “to work with us in a serious way to comprehensively address Obamacare’s failures in the seven years since they passed it.”

The legislation has triggered protests at the Capitol and police said they arrested 40 people, including cancer survivors, on Wednesday for blocking Senate offices.

Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act, which passed without Republican support, expanded health insurance coverage to some 20 million people but Senate Republicans call it a costly government intrusion.

The Senate bill rolls back Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid government insurance for the poor and cuts planned Medicaid spending starting in 2025. It also repeals most of Obamacare’s taxes, ends a penalty for not obtaining insurance and overhauls subsidies that help people buy insurance with tax credits.

For graphic on who’s covered under Medicaid, click: http://tmsnrt.rs/2u06kvB

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey, Richard Cowan, Susan Cornwell, Steve Holland, Jeff Mason, Mohammad Zargham, Tim Ahmann and Jeff Mason; Writing by Lisa Lambert, Will Dunham and Frances Kerry; Editing by Bill Trott)

IMAGE: Women dressed as handmaids from the novel, film, and television series The Handmaid’s Tale demonstrate against cuts for Planned Parenthood in the Senate Republicans’ healthcare bill at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., June 27, 2017.  REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

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23 Comments

  1. Lynda Groom June 29, 2017

    All of Trumps horses and all of Trumps men along with all the lipstick in the world can’t put that dog together again. However, you can be sure they will waste more their time and our money trying to do so.

    Reply
    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth June 29, 2017

      You’re absolutely right! These miscreants couldn’t figure out how to change a light bulb, and probably need help figuring out what to eat.

      Reply
      1. idamag June 29, 2017

        They don’t have to change light bulbs and their meals are prepared for them.

        Reply
    2. Eleanore Whitaker June 29, 2017

      In the Metro region, we only know Trump as a sleazy bum. Remember his 1998 interview with shock jock, Howard Stern? Remember what that scumball compared sex to Viet Nam? Remember the disgusting things he said publicly about women’s vaginas in that interview? http://money.cnn.com/2016/10/14/media/trump-stern-vietnam-stds/index.html and https://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/donald-trump-said-a-lot-of-gross-things-about-women-on-howar?utm_term=.yvJOyVPya#.wude2od2B.

      Trump and those who follow him are either pedophiles, gamblers, Neo Nazis, womanizers and rapists or thieves who got rich by slipping just under the radar and paying off their crimes with fines instead of jail.

      Reply
  2. plc97477 June 29, 2017

    If they try to make the bill meaner to bring in more of their ultra-conservatives they are going to lose more of their voters. If they had any sense they would bring in single-payer and pat themselves on the back. They won’t do that because 1. they have no sense and 2. It would upset their donors and they won’t upset their donors.

    Reply
    1. old_blu July 3, 2017

      Exactly there’s no money for them in “single-payer”.

      Reply
  3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth June 29, 2017

    What goes around, comes around. After decades of obfuscation, obstruction, and 8 years of foaming at the mouth over the election of President Obama, the delaying and childish tactics of a group of small-minded irascible jackals is exacting a divine toll.
    But this is only the beginning of what we might call Divine Retribution for such a demonic collection of farts who’ve devolved to a simian state.
    Poetic Justice is in effect now, and hopefully it will continue to sunder both chambers of this rapidly unraveling government. And the Koch boys are perfectly suited to be used as tools for this decaying process.

    Reply
  4. Dominick Vila June 29, 2017

    Don’t be surprised if all the concerns being expressed by half a dozen Republican senators is nothing more than political theater. I expect them to “cave in” and, reluctantly but decidedly go along with the proposal put forth by McConnell immediately after the 4th of July recess. That’s what the House did, and that’s what the Senate is likely to do. Their goal is to satisfy their constituents to stay in office. What is in the best interest of most Americans is not even an afterthought for them. They understand, better than a lot of Democrats do, that a party that controls the majority of the population, who happens to live in 15 or 16 states, is unlikely to get control of the White House and Congress in many years to come. A major political shift is more likely to depend on the GOP over reaching, or getting us involved in another prolonged and costly war, than Bills that only benefit corporate America and the wealthiest members of our society, or the dismantling of President Obama’s legacy.

    Reply
    1. idamag June 29, 2017

      I believe you are right. Even if the pushback makes it until November 2018, as soon as the election is over it will be Yee-haw wagons roll.

      Reply
      1. Eleanore Whitaker June 29, 2017

        McConnell is hoping he’ll buy off the Republicans who voted no. That’s exactly what Ryan did in the House. He waited until after they returned from the recess, all the while promising tons of money to the states to shut their constituents up and then they got to pass the repeal and replace.

        Which by the way is not really possible. If you repeal a law, it’s dead. It can’t be replaced.

        Reply
    2. Eleanore Whitaker June 29, 2017

      I’m not sure Heller, Murkowski or Collins would agree. Remember why they voted no? Their states expanded Medicaid. Now if they go back home during the recess for 4th of July, they face enraged constituents in states where guns flow like booze.

      Reply
  5. idamag June 29, 2017

    Inre: the picture used for this board: There are ,many splinter groups out there with their own ax to grind. They need to forget, for a while their own needs, and focus on saving democracy. If we have a strong democracy they will be better off. Right or wrong, many religious nut jobs voted for trump because he made the emotional statement, in the debates, about babies being ripped from the womb just hours before they were to be born. It was a stupid statement and without merit, but then trump supporters were not rocket scientists and they vote.

    Reply
  6. Eleanore Whitaker June 29, 2017

    This is not really about the entire Republican Party supporting Trumpcare. It has come down to the elder statesmen in both the House and Senate who are knowingly deeply entrenched and totally reliant on HMO and Big Pharma for campaign donations their juniors don’t get due to being newly elected.

    So, the Good Ole Geezers don’t mind feeding the newly elected to the hungry lions. McConnell plans to bring this back up again just like Ryan did in House.

    And then, there is the matter of that $320 million McConnell can wave at the Republicans who voted no.

    But, here is the real problem for Republicans, according to 6 of the US’s top polls, less than 12% of Americans approve of Trumpcare. And, that news clip of handicapped Americans protesting at McConnell’s door this week went around the world.

    One of them was blind, another had an oxygen tank to keep her alive and another was in a wheelchair hauled off by cops. If you don’t think the sight of handicapped people begging at McConnell’s door won’t turn the world against the Republicans, they best think again.

    That has to be the worst, most disgusting display by McConnell of selfish, self-centered politics against our country’s most vulnerable. McConnell needs to drop dead after a long, drawn out disease that rots his brain first and then his entire body as slow as molasses.

    Reply
    1. RichFromShowMe June 29, 2017

      Partly true, but Dems get around 45% of total “donations” and Republicans around 53%.

      The Left must be foaming-at-the-mouth since the “R’s” can’t get their act together and the nation can look forward to the failed obambacare (from day one)

      Health Insurance increases, if you can get insurance, are forecast at around 50% for 2018.

      Whoopee, everyone loses, once again, or it is, as usual?

      https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/summary.php?ind=H04++

      Reply
      1. Eleanore Whitaker June 29, 2017

        First of all, nice try sluggo. You don’t mention from “WHOM” the Republicans get their biggest donations…Big HMOs and Big Pharma, not to mention TX oil and the Virginia military industrialist who keep this country in endless war for profit. Not to mention all the prison for profit industry lobbyists.

        We have our act together buster. We are going to take all of your liars and hick cheats down if it’s the last thing we ever do. Why? Because our democracy allows us to that as stated in the 1st Amendment…the of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

        You are nothing more than a pimple on Trump’s butt that we intend to pop. Your lies have gone far enough.

        As for your link, why bother with it when you knew who the editor of it is…a right BS con man.

        Reply
        1. RichFromShowMe June 30, 2017

          Sorry to confuse you with the FACTS, but it’s obvious that it doesn’t matter who, as the data represents pharma, which you “argument” highlighted as “bad guys”. I see you’re still hung up on foul language when you’re proven categorically wrong. 🙂

          https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/summary.php?ind=H04++

          https://www.opensecrets.org/dark-money/top-elections

          Reply
          1. Eleanore Whitaker June 30, 2017

            Why do you even bother to post on a site where NO ONE agrees withg you but the other nutbagger Misinformed Voter? You know why you are on this thread…to do what Putin pays you ignorant hicks to do..create division, dissension and contradictions using your lies, bias and distortions.

            The data on Big Pharma and all US Corporations moron, is found at the Government Accountability site which a prickface like you won’t bother to even look at because it would your right wing “alt” open secrets.org is a right wing site created by a Republican, Hugh Scott, in 1983 who is linked to another fascist right wing group, “Center for Responsive Politics” that turned into a for profit greed machine.

            Men like you need to be recircumcized and lobotomized. You obviously thought I wouldn’t do my own research on your distorted link. Too bad, I make a part-time living as a freelance SEO copywriter who spends a great deal of time every day on research for my clients’ articles. You? You are a low life bum who lives on my Dem state tax dollars.

            Reply
          2. RichFromShowMe June 30, 2017

            Actually, the GAO does not get involved in “who” gets donors money but they are one conduit for “Open Secrets” data assimilation.

            Nothing changes with you; i.e. your foul mouth takes precedence over common sense and civility . . . . always!

            Why do you (almost) never provide URL’s to prove what you say? I feel sorry for your SEO clients . . .

            Reply
          3. Eleanore Whitaker June 30, 2017

            Nothing you post ever makes any sense to anyone but you. I never posted that the GAO is involved i who gets donor money. I posted that the GAO monitors and reports on the status of the US economy in depth that requires their reports to divulge the facts of corporate impact on econmy.

            Wow are you stupid. Since I read more GAO reports over my period of tech writing and accounting management in environmental engineering than you EVER have, I’d say you have no clue other than your insistence that somehow your posts are educating others. No. They are not.

            You obviously have a very serious problem recognizing when you are not wanted, your opinion is not a general concensus of life in the world and your posts are BS no one but you thinks is worthwhile.

            Do yourself a favor. Find a right wing site where you pretend boy geniuses can bully each other and post drivel only your kind fall for.

            Reply
          4. RichFromShowMe June 30, 2017

            Of course, everyone knows the GAO, among other things tracks the economy, but you earlier inferred they collect data on individuals (‘R’s” and “D’s”) who receive donations/bribes from the Pharmaceutical community.

            I sent you the direct link to prove its nearly 50/50 (“D’s” and “R’s”) so your wild assertion that “R’s” get the great majority and are the “evil-doers” is (I think you asserted it was 90%, or so) bogus, bogus, bogus . . . as usual.

            Reply
          5. Eleanore Whitaker June 30, 2017

            What is it about you don’t remotely impress me with your phony intelligence and superiority act, you don’t get?

            You try so hard to be in my league. And how do you show what a hypocrite you are when you whine about my “foul” language when Lard Ass lets fly with foul language that even pisses Tillerson off. Try not to feel so badly about being outclassed by someone MORE educated and experienced. It isn’t your fault your Mammy and Pappy Yokum screwed up your childhood.

            Reply
          6. RichFromShowMe June 30, 2017

            Granted, President Trump uses foul language occasionally, but that’s for emphasis, which I assume is why you use foul inferences?

            The difference is the President only does it weekly, or so, and you do it with (nearly) every post. Granted, the President does have to be held to higher standards than I, as a Deplorable, or you as a Leftist, but the Left and FAKE NEWS have been constantly attacking (24×7) him for ABSOLUTELY UNPROVEN REASONS, for 6+ months . . . that has to be frustrating. 🙂

            The only proven and documented FACTs those who constantly attack him are that he likes Russian Dressing on his salads and often likes 2 scoops of ice cream. 🙂

            Reply
  7. Thoughtopsy June 29, 2017

    All hail reaching the point where the GOP has to deliver on its lies!
    The Repeal bullsh!t has gone on for years with no details about a replacement and little logic and few facts to the whining.
    Now they have to pay the piper… and all they have is garbage.

    I guess this is a teachable moment (If they could actually learn stuff) about not screaming lies and promising wild moronic things for seven years for political gain… because one day you may have to eat that sh!t sandwich you created.

    Reply

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