Health bill test of McConnell's leadership skills

Claudine Rigal
Juin 24, 2017

The doubts about the latest plan from Washington came from Republicans, Democrats and the nation's one independent governor. Trump's assertion few hours ago that he has helped pass and signed 38 Legislative Bills, mostly with no Democratic support, and gotten rid of massive amounts of regulations is of no use in case of Obamacare as long as the whole Republican Party stands behind him.

Contending that the Senate health care bill would move the country in the wrong direction, Nicholas challenged Republicans to name one provision in their plan that would improve health care for US patients and providers.

McConnell has acknowledged that he's willing to change the measure before it's voted on.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson contacted Cotton earlier this week and expressed concerns about how the cost of maintaining the Medicaid expansion in the state under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, would be shifted from the federal government to the states.

McConnell released the bill after weeks of closed-door meetings searching for middle ground between conservative senators seeking an aggressive repeal of Obama's statute and centrists warning about going too far.

Republicans were more likely than Democrats and independents to say they would be better off under a replacement plan, by a ratio of 3-to-1. "The Senate's proposal is built on patient-centered reforms that put the American people in charge of their healthcare decisions, not government, protecting patients, bringing down the cost of coverage, and expanding choices", he said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, a doctor and former member of Congress, supports the proposal.

"No argument against Trumpcare is more eloquent than the grave consequences it means in people's lives", she wrote colleagues.

"It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else".

Shortly after the 142-page bill was distributed, more than a half-dozen GOP lawmakers signaled concerns or initial opposition.

Besides the five who've announced outright opposition, several other GOP senators - conservatives and moderates - have declined to commit to the new overhaul.

Rand Paul, who has rejected the plan along with fellow Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Ron Johnson, said fundamental problems remained that would leave taxpayers subsidizing health insurance companies.

In an interview with Fox News Channel, Trump was asked about the four conservatives opposing the bill.

"We're literally right now trying to understand all the details", he said. Obamacare, seen as the most important reform measure in the U.S. healthcare system after 1960s Medicaid, has been opposed by the Republicans. Dean Heller and Susan Collins have also withheld support.

"We do still need a solution for continuous coverage", she said. Manufacturers have strongly lobbied against the tax, saying it would be serious blow to businesses and consumers, although the tax does not apply to eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, wheel chairs or other medical devices the public generally buys at retail for individual use. His office has not yet released a statement regarding the Senate bill, which is to the Left of the House bill.

The Republican bill aims to deliver on one of Trump's central campaign promises to "repeal and replace" the 2010 law passed under Obama that expanded coverage to millions of Americans. "It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it", backing his comment on analyses in the USA media and the Congressional Budget Office's assessment which has projected that the new bill would leave 14 million Americans uninsured the very next year and the figure would reach to 23 million by 2016.

The Senate bill would phase out extra money Obama's law provides to 31 states that agreed to expand coverage under the federal-state Medicaid program. Those additional funds would continue through 2020, then gradually fall and disappear entirely in 2024. That could mean people wait until they get sick to buy coverage, driving up premiums.

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