Trump in full court press to get Senate Obamacare repeal done

President Trump is putting pressure on Senate Republicans to get Obamacare repeal done sooner rather than later, and it appears that his efforts are paying off.

Despite recent doubts by some senators, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell believes that the Senate can pass its own version of Obamacare.

Washington Times:

Senate GOP leaders said Tuesday they're "close" to settling on their own plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, as pressure mounts on them to deliver on their health promises before the August recess.

It's been more than a month since House Republicans muscled their own repeal bill to passage. Senate Republicans have rejected that bill, but have struggled to come up with their own alternative that can win a majority vote in the upper chamber.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his negotiators are putting pen to paper to see where his troops stand as the effort moves into a do-or-die phase.

"We're getting close to having a proposal to whip and to take to the floor," Mr. McConnell said. "We've had seven years to talk about health care."

The GOP cleared a major procedural hurdle Tuesday, as the Senate's main referee – the parliamentarian – said the House template comports with fast-track budget rules Republicans are using to avoid a Democratic filibuster of their plans.

Yet political obstacles remain. Rank-and-file Republicans claimed progress after yet another closed-door meeting Tuesday, yet hedged on whether they'll muster the votes for passage.

It's not going to be easy.  GOP leaders briefed members of the caucus yesterday, but the proposal had a lot of holes in it.

The Hill:

Senators said a PowerPoint presentation at Tuesday's Senate GOP lunch meeting left some key decisions unresolved. While aides said some details are starting to take shape, conservatives are already raising red flags. 

Most importantly, staffers said the bill would allow states to waive ObamaCare rules requiring insurers to cover a range of healthcare services, known as essential health benefits. But the measure would not allow states to waive rules preventing people with pre-existing conditions from being charged more, a departure from the House-passed bill. 

That move pleased some moderates but has sparked frustration among conservatives who want to allow states to repeal all of the ObamaCare regulations. 

Speaking on background, an aide to a conservative senator said their office is "very disappointed" in the healthcare proposal as it currently stands and that its structure "absolutely" jeopardizes support on the right. 

But the president is emerging as the "X" factor in the debate and appears poised to run political interference for Republicans by blaming Democrats for inaction.

The Hill:

President Trump on Wednesday blamed Democrats for the slow speed of congressional efforts to repeal ObamaCare.

Speaking in Cincinnati, where he was flanked by two families who saw massive premium increases as a result of the healthcare law, Trump praised the House-passed ObamaCare repeal bill and charged that Democrats are the reason the process is taking so long.

"We're having no help; it's only obstruction from the Democrats. The Democrats are destroying health care in this country," Trump said.

House Republicans narrowly passed the American Healthcare Act in early May, after an earlier effort failed. An analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found 23 million people would lose insurance under the bill, prompting many Senate Republicans to back away from the House plan. 

The Senate is now working on its own version of the bill, but the GOP has been bogged down by intraparty disagreements over Medicaid, taxes and other key issues.

Republican leaders haven't introduced legislative text, but are urging a swift vote, possibly before the July Fourth recess.

They have openly admitted they don't expect any Democratic help as they work to repeal one of President Barack Obama's signature legislative accomplishments, which is why they are using the budget reconciliation process that only requires a simple majority to pass a bill.

Still, Trump insisted Wednesday the Democrats were at fault. 

"If we gave you the greatest health plan in the world we would get no votes," Trump said "The Democrats are really in our way."

Despite the fact that Obamacare is clearly failing, Democrats are proceeding as if all were well and as if mean Republicans wanted to destroy a perfectly good health insurance program.  That it doesn't comport with reality doesn't matter.  Democrats are targeting their base with this nonsense, playing off the fears and paranoia of sick people.

For Trump, highlighting Democratic foot-dragging on Obamacare repeal and reform is good politics, but can he herd Republicans in the Senate and get them to back a plan that can be supported by all factions?

I think the key will be giving states control over coverage mandates as well as allowing states to keep Medicaid expansion if they desire.  It will make the bill more expensive, but it's likely to garner majority support. 

Repealing the pre-existing conditions mandate is probably not in the cards, but modifying it may be.  The goal is to keep conservatives and moderates from totally rejecting the package.  It may be difficult to see how that's possible at this point, but the same could have been said before the House vote on Obamacare repeal and replace.  The president was able to twist enough arms and sweeten the pot enough so that an admittedly imperfect bill was successfully passed.

Trump is hoping to duplicate that effort in the Senate.

President Trump is putting pressure on Senate Republicans to get Obamacare repeal done sooner rather than later, and it appears that his efforts are paying off.

Despite recent doubts by some senators, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell believes that the Senate can pass its own version of Obamacare.

Washington Times:

Senate GOP leaders said Tuesday they're "close" to settling on their own plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, as pressure mounts on them to deliver on their health promises before the August recess.

It's been more than a month since House Republicans muscled their own repeal bill to passage. Senate Republicans have rejected that bill, but have struggled to come up with their own alternative that can win a majority vote in the upper chamber.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his negotiators are putting pen to paper to see where his troops stand as the effort moves into a do-or-die phase.

"We're getting close to having a proposal to whip and to take to the floor," Mr. McConnell said. "We've had seven years to talk about health care."

The GOP cleared a major procedural hurdle Tuesday, as the Senate's main referee – the parliamentarian – said the House template comports with fast-track budget rules Republicans are using to avoid a Democratic filibuster of their plans.

Yet political obstacles remain. Rank-and-file Republicans claimed progress after yet another closed-door meeting Tuesday, yet hedged on whether they'll muster the votes for passage.

It's not going to be easy.  GOP leaders briefed members of the caucus yesterday, but the proposal had a lot of holes in it.

The Hill:

Senators said a PowerPoint presentation at Tuesday's Senate GOP lunch meeting left some key decisions unresolved. While aides said some details are starting to take shape, conservatives are already raising red flags. 

Most importantly, staffers said the bill would allow states to waive ObamaCare rules requiring insurers to cover a range of healthcare services, known as essential health benefits. But the measure would not allow states to waive rules preventing people with pre-existing conditions from being charged more, a departure from the House-passed bill. 

That move pleased some moderates but has sparked frustration among conservatives who want to allow states to repeal all of the ObamaCare regulations. 

Speaking on background, an aide to a conservative senator said their office is "very disappointed" in the healthcare proposal as it currently stands and that its structure "absolutely" jeopardizes support on the right. 

But the president is emerging as the "X" factor in the debate and appears poised to run political interference for Republicans by blaming Democrats for inaction.

The Hill:

President Trump on Wednesday blamed Democrats for the slow speed of congressional efforts to repeal ObamaCare.

Speaking in Cincinnati, where he was flanked by two families who saw massive premium increases as a result of the healthcare law, Trump praised the House-passed ObamaCare repeal bill and charged that Democrats are the reason the process is taking so long.

"We're having no help; it's only obstruction from the Democrats. The Democrats are destroying health care in this country," Trump said.

House Republicans narrowly passed the American Healthcare Act in early May, after an earlier effort failed. An analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found 23 million people would lose insurance under the bill, prompting many Senate Republicans to back away from the House plan. 

The Senate is now working on its own version of the bill, but the GOP has been bogged down by intraparty disagreements over Medicaid, taxes and other key issues.

Republican leaders haven't introduced legislative text, but are urging a swift vote, possibly before the July Fourth recess.

They have openly admitted they don't expect any Democratic help as they work to repeal one of President Barack Obama's signature legislative accomplishments, which is why they are using the budget reconciliation process that only requires a simple majority to pass a bill.

Still, Trump insisted Wednesday the Democrats were at fault. 

"If we gave you the greatest health plan in the world we would get no votes," Trump said "The Democrats are really in our way."

Despite the fact that Obamacare is clearly failing, Democrats are proceeding as if all were well and as if mean Republicans wanted to destroy a perfectly good health insurance program.  That it doesn't comport with reality doesn't matter.  Democrats are targeting their base with this nonsense, playing off the fears and paranoia of sick people.

For Trump, highlighting Democratic foot-dragging on Obamacare repeal and reform is good politics, but can he herd Republicans in the Senate and get them to back a plan that can be supported by all factions?

I think the key will be giving states control over coverage mandates as well as allowing states to keep Medicaid expansion if they desire.  It will make the bill more expensive, but it's likely to garner majority support. 

Repealing the pre-existing conditions mandate is probably not in the cards, but modifying it may be.  The goal is to keep conservatives and moderates from totally rejecting the package.  It may be difficult to see how that's possible at this point, but the same could have been said before the House vote on Obamacare repeal and replace.  The president was able to twist enough arms and sweeten the pot enough so that an admittedly imperfect bill was successfully passed.

Trump is hoping to duplicate that effort in the Senate.

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