Female senators will be included in health group

Claudine Rigal
Mai 12, 2017

In a letter released Tuesday, the entire Senate Democratic Caucus asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and key Republican committee leaders for a "bipartisan, open and transparent" effort to improve the health care system. And yet the bill that passed the House last week would lead to an estimated 24 million more people being uninsured. "The panel has apparently been meeting for some time, and I'm not a member of it". He said Republican Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia attended part of the meeting and that women aren't being cut out.

"McConnell stood up and said, 'Please come and participate, '" Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. Participants said the group's work had a long way to go.

"Well, this is most offensive", Price told conservative radio host Mike Gallagher, as first reported by CNN. "It seems to me they've already made their decision".

The Senate process will give senators a chance to offer dozens of amendments when the bill reaches the floor, but hearings aren't guaranteed. McConnell said Monday there's no timetable for an agreement. It's a process that requires just a simple majority of senators to pass.

"The working group that counts is all 52 of us, and we're having extensive meetings" daily, McConnell told reporters. "Nobody's being excluded. Everybody's at the table". Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said he also would join the group.

Republicans celebrate at White House after House passes health care bill.

Afterward, Cruz said the group agreed to seek a Medicaid package that "puts Medicaid on a long-term fiscally sustainable path" and would give states more flexibility in running the program.

The secretive nature of the Senate talks is drawing some fire from members of both parties. Republican senators must resolve differences over the House bill's Medicaid cuts, federal subsidies to help consumers buy insurance and waivers so states can allow higher premiums for some people with pre-existing medical conditions and ease other Obama consumer protections. She also said, "I think they are opening up those meetings. This has got to be a process that represents all of the constituencies".

Sens. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are two such senators.

She said she'd spent 15 minutes at Tuesday's Senate GOP lunch describing a high-risk pool ME uses to help cover costs for people with serious diseases who are expensive to treat. All nine GOP members in Michigan's Congressional delegation voted for the repeal and replace package, including U.S. Rep Jack Bergman of Michigan's 1st Congressional District.

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington told reporters, "We are going to keep pushing Senate Republicans to take a different path than the House did and sending a very clear message to the 13 Republican men now negotiating a secret health care plan, which I really hope is not happening in the men's locker room at the very least".

The GOP drive to write health care legislation has shifted to the Senate, five days after Republicans pushed a version of it through the House.

"If you look at the House bill, it is so discriminatory against women", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

Democrats predict they'll never be able to do it.

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