Published: Tue, July 18, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

Budget office puts off scoring of health bill

Budget office puts off scoring of health bill

Republicans control the Senate by a 52-48 margin and can not afford to lose more than two from within their ranks because of united Democratic opposition, but two Republican senators already have declared opposition. Republican Senators Rand Paul and Susan Collins have already voiced objection to the motion. "If you ask the question, 'Do you want to be able to select your insurance coverage, ' it's overwhelming", Price said. The objective of the amendment is to give people who don't need or want coverage for things like maternity care or mental health the option to buy a cheaper, bare-bones plan.

The letter also demands that Republicans not bring the bill to the Senate floor until receiving a complete score from the Congressional Budget Office. He is under pressure from Trump to pass a healthcare bill and make good on Republicans' seven-year mission to gut the signature legislation of Democratic former President Barack Obama, the Affordable Care Act. Only 43 percent of Republicans strongly prefer the GOP proposal. Paul said on Sunday he doesn't think Republicans have enough votes to approve the legislation.

"There are changes that need to be made to the law", Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, told MSNBC, citing "a bipartisan appetite to tackle this issue".

Several senators, including Shelley Moore Capito, Rob Portman and John McCain, had concerns about the legislation and particularly its Medicaid cuts. The new package added language letting insurers sell discount-priced policies with minimal coverage aimed at winning over conservatives, and revised funding formulas that would mean federal money for states including Louisiana and Alaska - home to four GOP senators who are uncommitted on the measure.

And two other Republican senators, Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, complicated matters by announcing an alternative plan. It further provides a list of independent health care groups Democrats say must be invited to testify about the bill's impact on the nation's health insurance markets, including the American Cancer Society and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

The bill retained certain Obamacare taxes on the wealthy that the earlier version would have eliminated, a step moderates could embrace.

The bill unwinds Obamacare's Medicaid expansion over three years, from 2021 to 2024.

Those are no brainers for any conservative health care insurance reform, but they required weeks of hard negotiating by Cruz and thousands of phone calls from grassroots conservatives to get the message through to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Senate's establishment Republicans.

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