Senate GOP health bill would reshape Obama law

The measure encountered immediate trouble as four GOP senators said they opposed it but were open to negotiations.

"We have to act", Mr McConnell said on the Senate floor. If the repeal bill is still looming over the Senate, Republicans are certain to face intense pressure from constituents who wish to see the Affordable Care Act remain in place.

McConnell's decision to keep the details tightly under wraps until Thursday was intentional and aimed at winning over his colleagues out of the public spotlight, but the secretive process has infuriated Democrats - and aggravated plenty of Republicans, too.

I have said from the beginning that there is an agreement to be reached, and I believe we can get there, we can get to yes.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told CNN that it would be "very difficult" for lawmakers to digest the bill in time for a vote next week. It reduces the size of the subsidies available to middle-income people for the purchase of health insurance - and the generosity of the plans they can buy with those subsidies.

Nevada's Dean Heller - perhaps the GOP's most vulnerable senator up for reelection in 2018 - expressed his reservations about the bill's Medicaid cuts.

Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican who was elected in 2015, campaigned and promised to entirely cut Medicaid expansion but then softened his position, seeking a section 1115 waiver from the federal government that would allow the state to create its own version of Medicaid expansion.

Wolf's administration said it expected that the Senate bill would inflict deeper Medicaid cuts on Pennsylvania than the $4.5 billion a year it had projected in lost federal health care dollars under the House bill.

The bill would phase out the extra money Obama's law provides to states that have expanded coverage under the federal-state Medicaid program for low-income people.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi assails the GOP bill as a tax break for wealthy Americans.

McConnell hopes to push the measure through the Senate next week.

But the state would be given powers to let insurers revoke some guaranteed benefits, such as drug plans and hospital costs, which would limit how much coverage those with pre-existing conditions actually receive. McConnell has a tough needle to thread: making significant concessions to conservatives risks losing moderate votes, and vice versa. Senate leaders have more work to do to secure the votes needed to pass the measure, Republicans familiar with the effort said.

Many GOPers reserved judgment on the measure as they exited McConnell's private presentation. The Senate bill may be meaner.

Paul told reporters that "my hope is not to defeat the bill, but to make the bill better". But Scott predicted there was "a long way to go" before concluding whether it could pass.

At a closed-door meeting with senators last week President Donald Trump reportedly called the House's health care plan "mean", and now Democrats are taking the President to task for his words, calling the Senate GOP bill "meaner". "The members of Indivisible Chicago will not sit idly by while this odious bill makes its way through the Senate, which is why we are rallying at Federal Plaza at 2:30 today, June 22nd". The results would be devastating for families: millions of Americans would lose coverage, key health care protections would be taken away, and crucial services for seniors needing long-term care, children with disabilities, people struggling with addiction, and low-income families would be eliminated. It allows parents keep their kids on their policies until they turn 26, and requires insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions.

Much like Obamacare, insurers would have to accept all applicants, and charge the same rates. But it would also open up the subsidies to enrollees below the poverty level so those living in states that didn't expand Medicaid could get some assistance.

But it was unclear if, or how, the Senate would follow the House's path and forbid the use of health care tax credits to buy coverage that includes abortions.

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