Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

GOP, Dem governors call for changes in House health bill

GOP, Dem governors call for changes in House health bill GOP, Dem governors call for changes in House health bill
Sandy Vega | 26 June, 2017, 03:57

"Now the president agrees with us". Jim Risch, R-Idaho, left, and Sen. There's no firm head-count yet because - you guessed it - no one's seen the secret bill.

A group of 13 senators is working in secret to design their response to the House Republicans' bill, which was passed last month without a single Democratic vote.

"The House bill is just unacceptable to me, " said Governor John Kasich of OH, a Republican.

His comments come as Senate Republicans are working hard to finalize legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, without a formal, open drafting session.

The change in sentiment is an effort to delay draconian cuts to certain features of the system, like Medicaid expansion.

Regardless of political affiliation or economic status, I think everyone should be concerned about the Senate's lack of transparency regarding its version of the American Health Care Act. He also chairs the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over health care legislation.

"Our members and other Americans over age 50 are very anxious about legislation that would raise their premiums through what is, in effect, an age tax, weaken Medicare, undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions and make changes to Medicaid that would put some of our most vulnerable citizens at risk", said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond.

That delay would be a setback to the GOP.

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Now Republicans in the Senate are trying to ram through their own version of health care reform, moving so quickly, secretly and cynically as to put the House to shame in their mastery of the dark arts.

Republican Senator Joni Ernst is urging GOP leaders in the Senate to embrace "transparency" and give the public a chance to review the Senate GOP's alternative health care bill before the senate votes on the plan. President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are pressing for an ambitious timeline to complete the bill, although it is being drafted in the Senate with little assistance from the White House. President Trump has made assurances that the bill "guarantees" coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, which just isn't true.

One source said Trump called the House bill "mean, mean, mean" and said, "We need to be more generous, more kind".

Paul denounced as "new entitlements" two core elements of the Republican bill in both the House and Senate: a refundable tax credit to help people buy insurance and a "stabilization fund" of money to help bring down premiums.

Two other congressional GOP officials confirmed that the general descriptions of Trump's words were accurate.

The full bill later passed, 67-22.

"McConnell's goal is to present a bill to the Congressional Budget Office for analysis as soon as next week, so a final vote can be held before September 30", reporter Michael Hiltzik wrote last week in the Los Angeles Times.

In an embarrassing retreat, Ryan had to abruptly cancel a March vote on the House measure after a revolt against it by Republican conservatives and moderates that would have ensured its defeat. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

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