Republicans in the Senate have been pouring cold water on expectations of producing a health-care reform bill anytime soon, but a leading health-care expert says the GOP realistically has just over three months to get it done. The next congressional recess is on July 4, and the hope is the bill could be signed into law before then.
Attendees at the lunch include Iowa Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Dean Heller, R-Nev., saying the House bill was a non-starter for them, Turner suspects the final Senate version will end up looking pretty familiar.
The American Health Care Act, House Republican leaders’ legislation aimed at repealing and replacing Obamacare, received low marks from the public upon its release in March.
Republicans of all stripes are finding it increasingly hard to buck President Trump and the Senate GOP leadership, who are determined to pass repeal and replacement legislation this summer to finally make good on long-standing campaign promises.
The same situation could present itself in the Senate. Several provisions of the ACA allowed millions of Americans seeking substance-abuse treatment to gain coverage, including through an expansion of the Medicaid health program. Deaths from opioid use in the USA have skyrocketed from around 8,000 in 1999 to over 30,000 in 2015, the Center for Disease Control reports.
States could continue to provide expanded Medicaid coverage, but would have to pick up more of the price tag, which could cost OH as much as $1.2 billion a year by 2021. But as Senator Portman explained, the House-passed version of the AHCA “does not do enough to protect Ohio’s Medicaid expansion population, especially those who are receiving treatment for heroin and prescription drug abuse”.
Other Republicans have expressed concern about kicking Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid or cutting programs to treat opioid addiction.
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) noted that McConnell had once been a strong advocate for transparency when Democrats passed Obamare after more than a year of hearings and 25 hours of debate on the Senate floor. Moderate senators want something closer to a 7-year timeframe for rolling back funds.
The fact Senate Republicans have, until this week, done a very good job of hiding is that the future of any healthcare bill in their chamber is extremely dicey.
Toomey, a conservative fiscal policy hawk, wants an aggressive, immediate cut to Medicaid funding. Reporters told him the preliminary text exists. But leaks suggest that it is largely similar to the bill that passed the House―the one that would cause 23 million Americans to lose health coverage.
President Donald Trump asserted during a cabinet meeting that Democratic lawmakers would refuse to vote for any GOP health care legislation, regardless of its merits.
Senate Republicans, in short, are in lockstep with their House colleagues when it comes to stripping health care from millions of people.