Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

Dems say they'll slow Senate work over secretive care bill

Dems say they'll slow Senate work over secretive care bill

GEOFF BENNETT, BYLINE: Hey, Kelly.

Senate Democrats plan to obstruct business in the Senate starting Monday night as a way to further highlight their objection to a GOP health reform bill. Here's the rationale Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer gave on the Senate floor today.

Republicans say they are working toward a goal of lowering insurance premiums for Americans. But they can be disruptive.

The discussion occurred just hours before their colleagues in the Senate planned to take control of the floor for a talk-a-thon against the passage of Republican legislation.

BENNETT: Yeah, the thing is, Republicans aren't openly objecting to it the way Democrats are.

An all-male group of Senate Republicans has worked privately for months to craft its version of the House healthcare bill, which narrowly passed to the upper chamber in May, under increasing pressure from Trump. So he says there shouldn't be any surprises.

"The average Republican doesn't even know what's in that legislation", Independent Sen. Here's Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.

LISA MURKOWSKI: Yeah, I've got a problem with it. Is the public going to be given the chance to see and comment on a bill that potentially could result in them losing health insurance before the 52 Senate Republicans vote yes on it?

"I think it's being written, uh, by someone somewhere but I'm not aware of who or where", Sen. They have to fight the process McConnell is using instead of being able to point to the real harm that the bill will cause, since it's as yet undefined.

BENNETT: Well, there are a couple of procedural reasons for that.

Caller: I'm afraid it's going to take more than talk and tweet storms to stop this awful bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opened the Senate with no mention of when the GOP would unveil its bill or bring it to a vote. It won't continue progress toward health-care coverage for all Americans made under Obamacare, but will do considerable harm. They feel like they've invested a lot of time, a lot of political capital on this already. He said that this is the only way to get something done, and if they fail to get something done, they will be voted out of office. And so the rules are crystal clear on that. Republican leaders would like a vote in July, even before the July 4 recess if possible.

MCEVERS: Very quickly, how likely is it Republicans could come up with something that will pass? Two-thirds of all Medicaid spending is for older and disabled adults mainly for long term care such as nursing homes. Senate Republicans are expected to ease some of its cuts to Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, and make other changes.

MCEVERS: NPR's Geoff Bennett on Capitol Hill, thank you.

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