Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

Lacking enough GOP votes, Senate pushes back health bill

Lacking enough GOP votes, Senate pushes back health bill

Still, the discussion, several senators said, was positive, constructive and not tense - a change from the last 10 days leading up to what was expected to be a vote on the bill later this week.

Senators expressed concerns about different aspects of the bill, including lawmakers from states expanding Medicaid, conservatives raising concerns about elements of the bill, and others about the tax cuts to the wealthy paired with cuts to Medicaid, a source in the room said.

Erin Montgomery, a spokesperson for the group, said, "America First Policies is pleased to learn that Senator Dean Heller has chose to come back to the table to negotiate with his colleagues on the Senate bill".

The news followed a bustling morning in the Capitol, where Republican leaders, along with Pence, were meeting behind closed doors with the bill's opponents, as a number of senators came out against voting for a procedural step to advance their plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.

GOP leaders need almost every Republican Senator to pass the proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which was Obama's signature program. Shelley Moore Capito announced Tuesday that she can't support the Senate's health care overhaul after Republican leaders postponed a vote until at least next month.

The Maine senator said she wishes Trump had attempted to pass legislation on issues that could have bipartisan support - like infrastructure - before trying to tackle "a politically divisive and technically complex issue like health care".

McConnell said Trump has been "fully engaged" in the process, and will host all Senate Republicans at a special meeting at the White House at about 4:00 pm (2000 GMT) today.

Following McConnell's decision, President Donald Trump said negotiators are continuing to work and "getting very close" on a deal and that Obamacare was "melting down as we speak".

What they're saying: They've offered very constituent-focused statements, like this from Sullivan: "I believe that we can do better for our state and our country, but I will not vote for a bill that will make things worse for Alaskans". The GOP bill would unwind that expansion and cap Medicaid payments for the future.

McConnell said health care is "a big complicated subject", and complicated bills are "hard to pull together and hard to pass". Medicaid is also a concern for Dean Heller, whose state of Nevada has expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

The 22 million figure, which is only a slight improvement from the CBO's estimate of the health care bill passed by the House of Representatives in May, comes in the office's analysis of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, a draft of which was released last week.

The delay comes one day after CBO's report Monday that the Senate GOP bill would leave 22 million more people uninsured, just shy of the 23 million more people the House GOP bill would leave uninsured.

They say the CBO was off in its 2013 estimation- which predicted Obamacare would cover 24 million more people by 2016, but they were off by 13 million.

Republican leadership targeted a late Tuesday or early Wednesday vote on the motion to proceed in order to get a final vote by the end of the week. "We are going to see what we are going to do". Of those, 15 million would lose Medicaid coverage.

We've said it before, we'll say it again ...

At the White House, McConnell warned that Republicans may find themselves needing Democrats if they can't reach a fix.

Still, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters, "I would not bet against Mitch McConnell". Roberts supported the bill and he said he's open to "further improvements". The Republican bill would radically cut federal funding for Medicaid, even more deeply than what was proposed in the House bill.

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