GOP 'Obamacare' repeal teeters after Senate shelves vote

Evan Vucci  AP

It hasn't been easy, as adjustments to placate conservatives, who want the legislation to be more stringent, only push away moderates who think its current limits - on Medicaid for example - are too strong.

The Times, in its Wednesday editions, said Trump was less involved in the press for the Senate bill than with the earlier House bill - making fewer phone calls to senators, for instance.

The poll had a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

Hoeven's comments came hours after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he would delay a vote on the bill until after the July 4 recess. Howard Bedlin, vice president for public policy and advocacy for the National Council on Aging, blasted the Senate bill for this reason. The Senate bill, however, leads to more government spending on Medicaid in that amount of time than the House GOP bill. Democrats are unanimously opposed. Despite the usual criticisms from the Democrats and their allies in the media, the GOP's Obamacare replacement is a step in the right direction to restore market economics to America's broken health-care system and place major entitlements on some semblance of a budget.

The Senate GOP schedule hit a snag similar to that encountered by House Republicans as they considered the AHCA. Rob Portman has announced his opposition to the current Senate health care bill after days of political pummeling that ended with the vote delayed.

At the meeting, the attack ads against Heller were reported to be a topic of contention. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota told reporters later.


The House went through its own struggles with its version of the bill, pulling it from the floor short of votes before reviving it and narrowly passing it in May. Currently Republicans hold 52 of the 100 seats in the Senate.

But McConnell is finding it hard to satisfy demands from his diverse caucus.

Utah Sen Mike Lee, a conservative who opposes the bill because he believes it does not do enough to strip down Obamacare, spoke to Trump by phone on Monday. But moderates like Heller and Susan Collins of ME criticize the bill as overly punitive in throwing people off insurance roles and limiting benefits paid by Medicaid, which has become the nation's biggest health care program, covering nursing home care for seniors as well as care for many poor Americans.

The CBO report makes one thing clear: the amount of federal revenues collected and the amount of spending on Medicaid "would nearly surely both be lower than under current law", and the number of uninsured people under the Senate health care bill "would nearly surely be greater than under current law". McConnell told senators he wanted them to agree to a final version of the bill before the end of this week so they could seek a new analysis by the budget office. However, in another display of the USA leader's seemingly mercurial temperament, Mr Trump proceeded to tell senators that the House's version is "mean".

Paul suggested that once Republicans add additional repeal provisions to the bill - a bill he said will "still never be completely fixed" - they should sit down with Senate Democrats in a bipartisan fashion.

The Senate plan would end the tax penalty the law imposes on people who don't buy insurance, in effect erasing Obama's so-called individual mandate, and on larger businesses that don't offer coverage to workers. But the savings need to be used to help people get coverage on the private market - not used for tax cuts for the wealthy. With about 70 million enrolled, Medicaid covers more people than Medicare, from newborns to nursing home residents.

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