Schumer: ‘we Can Work Together Our Country Demands It’
Until the end, passage on the Health Care Freedom Act, also dubbed the skinny repeal, was never certain. Even Republicans who voted for it disliked the bill.
The skinny bill as policy is a disaster. The skinny bill as a replacement for Obamacare is a fraud. The skinny bill is a vehicle to getting conference to find a replacement, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said at a Thursday evening news conference hours before the vote alongside fellow Republicans McCain, Ron Johnson and Bill Cassidy, before the details were released.
The skinny repeal was far from Republicans campaign promise of also rolling back Medicaid expansion, insurance subsidies, Obamacare taxes, and insurance regulations.
Many Republicans who did vote for it said they were holding their nose to vote for it just to advance the process into negotiations with the House of Representatives.
The legislation included a repeal of the individual mandate to purchase insurance, a repeal of the employer mandate to provide insurance, a one-year defunding of Planned Parenthood, a provision giving states more flexibility to opt out of insurance regulations, and a three-year repeal of the medical device tax. It also would have increased the amount that people can contribute to Health Savings Accounts.
Leigh Ann Caldwell is an NBC News correspondent.
Kevin Mccarthy: Republicans Can Repeal Obamacare Before Replacing It
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that Republicans could repeal Obamacare before finding a replacement for it, according to the Hill.
I dont think you have to wait, McCarthy told reporters. My personal belief, and nothings been decided yet, but I would move through and repeal and then go to work on replacing.
But healthcare experts, including some Republicans, say this approach could cause chaos for Obamacare enrollees and the insurance market during that period of time between the repeal of the law and when a replacement is found.
McCarthy and others have called for a transition period where Obamacare would be phased out gradually over a period of two years or another specified period of time after a repeal of the law is passed.
Even so, critics have said that insurers could leave the system once they know the law is being phased out, leaving no options for those enrolled in Obamacare for 2018.
Insurers have already left the exchanges in some states, leaving people with only one insurer to choose from when purchasing plans on the exchange.
The task of repealing and replacing Obamacare at the same time, however, could prove difficult for Republicans.
They need just 50 votes in the Senate to repeal the core of the healthcare law, but they need 60 votes in the Senate to pass a replacement to the law, which means the replacement would have to have support from Democrats as well as Republicans.
What We Learned In The House: Support For A Repeal Bill Can Happen Quickly
One lesson Ive taken from the past year of covering the Obamacare repeal-and-replace debate is that these bills look doomed to fail up until the moment they dont.
Take, for example, the American Health Care Act that the House passed this May. Within 48 hours, the bill went from doomed to sailing right through. The most puzzling part was how little happened in between.
Moderate Republicans like Rep. Fred Upton were critical of the bill because of how it could affect Americans with preexisting conditions. Upton publicly came out against the Obamacare repeal bill on May 2 in an interview with a local radio station. But literally the next day, he announced that a small tweak to the bill would win his support.
The tweaks didnt actually fix the core problems that Upton had with the bill. He secured a small pot of funding to help those with preexisting conditions and used that as cover to vote for a bill that would cause 22 million Americans to lose coverage.
Other Republicans quickly fell in line behind Upton, even though no major changes were made to quell their concerns, and the American Health Care Act passed the House on May 4.
Of course, some Republican plans that look doomed are, in fact, doomed. But at this stage, its really hard to tell the difference. Sometimes, as we saw in the House, a small amendment can make all the difference in flipping the key no votes to yes. Sometimes, as weve seen in the Senate, the votes just arent there.
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Trumps Executive Action Could Erode Marketplace Built Under Obamacare
Attempts to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act have failed in the past several months, leading President Donald Trump to issue an executive order expanding access to cheaper, less comprehensive health care plans.
The order, signed on Oct. 12, instructs federal agencies to remove certain limitations on “association health plans” and expand the availability of short-term health plans, both of which can skirt certain minimum coverage requirements included in the Affordable Care Act and state laws.
These changes will not immediately take effect; federal agencies will have to figure out how to act on Trump’s directions.
The executive action orders agencies to explore ways in which the government can expand access to short-term health plans, which are available to individuals on a three-month basis and meant for people who are in-between health care coverage plans. Under the instructions, association health plans would be allowed to sell plans across state lines; those plans allow small businesses to band together to create cheaper health care plans that offer fewer benefits.
The order was intended to create more options for individuals seeking health insurance and help stimulate competition among insurers. Some health policy advocates worry that it could disrupt the insurance marketplace in a way that would drive up health care costs for elderly individuals and people with medical conditions.
It will be months before changes are seen in the marketplace.
Likely To Vote No: 1 Senate Republican
Alaskas Lisa Murkowski also voted against all three versions of repeal in July, criticizing what she viewed as an overly secretive and partisan process to write the various bills and raising concerns about the Medicaid cuts. She has not slammed the GOP repeal effort as aggressively as Collins, but she does not sound especially inclined to back Cassidy-Graham.
So if Collins and Murkowski are no votes, Republicans need all four members below to vote yes.
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Senate Gop Tries One Last Time To Repeal Obamacare
McConnell and his lieutenants will gauge support for the bill this week in private party meetings.
By BURGESS EVERETT and JOSH DAWSEY
09/17/2017 02:51 PM EDT
Republicans say Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wont bring up the bill if there is any chance of failure, given the dramatic collapse in the summer. | john Shinkle/POLITICO
Obamacare repeal is on the brink of coming back from the dead.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his leadership team are seriously considering voting on a bill that would scale back the federal governments role in the health care system and instead provide block grants to states, congressional and Trump administration sources said.
It would be a last-ditch attempt to repeal Obamacare before the GOPs power to pass health care legislation through a party-line vote in the Senate expires on Sept. 30.
No final decision has been made, but the GOP leader has told his caucus that if the bill written by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy has the support of at least 50 of the 52 GOP senators, he will bring it to the floor, Graham and Cassidy say. That would give Republicans one more crack at repealing the Affordable Care Act, a longtime party pledge.
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Some Republicans believe that if the bill were put on the floor Monday, it would have the support of 49 senators.
Obama: Gop Blocked 500 Bills
President Barack Obama is railing against congressional Republicans, telling a Hollywood crowd that the midterm elections are crucial because the GOP is willing to say no to everything.
The president, speaking at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event Wednesday evening hosted at Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horns home, said Republicans have been obstructionist since even before he took office.
Their willingness to say no to everything the fact that since 2007, they have filibustered about 500 pieces of legislation that would help the middle class just gives you a sense of how opposed they are to any progress has actually led to an increase in cynicism and discouragement among the people who were counting on us to fight for them, Obama said of Republicans.
The conclusion is, well, nothing works, the president continued. And the problem is, is that for the folks worth fighting for for the person whos cleaning up that house or hotel, for the guy who used to work on construction but now has been laid off they need us. Not because they want a handout, but because they know that government can serve an important function in unleashing the power of our private sector.
Obama opened by saying that he is in trouble at home, because in 2012 he had told his wife, first lady Michelle Obama, that he had run his last campaign.
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Wild Cards: 4 Senate Republicans
Utahs Mike Lee and Kentuckys Rand Paul have been continual roadblocks for Republicans during the repeal process, fighting it from the right and essentially opposing any legislation that leaves Obamacares rules and regulations in place. Lee has been noncommittal about Cassidy-Graham. But Paul has attacked it, arguing that it still gives states the choice and ability to effectively leave Obamacare in place. He sounds like a hard no right now, but Im skeptical he would cast the vote to block an Obamacare repeal bill. The reason: Paul has cultivated a brand as a strong conservative, so a vote that would, in effect, save Obamacare would not be ideal for him.
Kansass Jerry Moran, meanwhile, has been a vocal defender of Medicaid, so its not clear if he would back a bill that cuts Medicaid as much as Graham-Cassidy does.
McCain, for his part, was a key vote against Obamacare repeal in July and it seemed like a capstone to the Arizona senators career as a self-described maverick. He urged Republicans just this Sunday not to engage in a hurried process that skips over the relevant committees and doesnt include Democrats. Cassidy-Graham is being rushed, hasnt gone through the committees for hearings and has no Democratic support.
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Gop Has A Month To Pass Obamacare Repeal With 51
If Republicans want to try again to repeal the Affordable Care Act with just a simple majority, they only have until the end of September to do it.
Thats according to Sen. Bernie Sanders, the ranking member on the Senates budget committee. According to Sanders, the Senate parliamentarian declared Friday that the Senates 2017 budget resolution, which gave reconciliation instructions to repeal Obamacare, will expire at the end of the month.
That means that Republican senators will either have to pass a new budget to repeal health care with a simple majority or they will have to have 60 votes a filibuster-proof majority to make changes to Obamacare.
The parliamentarians office declined to comment to CNN, saying its policy was not to speak with the media. CNN has reached out to Republicans on the Senate budget committee about whether they agree with Sanders assessment.
Todays determination by the Senate parliamentarian is a major victory for the American people and everyone who fought against President Trumps attempt to take away health care from up to 32 million people, Sanders said in a statement. Now that the parliamentarian has determined that Senate Republicans cannot use reconciliation instructions to repeal the Affordable Care Act beyond this fiscal year, we need to work together to expand, not cut, health care for millions of Americans who desperately need it.
CNNs Manu Raju and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.
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Trumps Promise To Repeal Obamacare Is Now In Limbo
President Donald Trump expressed disappointment after Republican lawmakers’ failure to muster enough votes to repeal Obamacare placed one of his loftiest campaign promises in limbo.
A series of defections by Senate Republicans scuttled two separate efforts to dismantle the sweeping U.S. health care law put in place by Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama.
“We’ve had a lot of victories, but we haven’t had a victory on health care,” Trump told reporters July 18, as it became clear the latest Republican legislative efforts would fail. “We’re disappointed.”
A slim margin of error constrained GOP efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare and forced a delicate balancing act between the party’s conservative and moderate members.
But defections by Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah on July 17 brought to four the number of Republican senators to publicly oppose the bill , effectively killing the repeal-and-replace plan. Senate leadership could only afford to lose two Republican votes for passage.
Senate Republicans then turned their attention to a measure that would repeal major parts of Obamacare over two years, in theory buying lawmakers enough time to agree on a replacement plan before the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, was largely dismantled.
“I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” Capito said in a statement. “I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”
Gop Aims To Kill Obamacare Yet Again After Failing 70 Times
The GOP may be down for the count in it’s failed attempts to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Actbut don’t count Lindsey Graham out just yet.
President Donald Trump met with the South Carolina senator and one of his fiercest critics in the Republican party on Friday night to discuss a bill that would effectively block Obamacare funding, according to two sources familiar with the meeting and legislation currently being drafted. Republican officials tell Politico Graham’s bill could potentially reach 50 votes after a series of failed attempts in recent weeks to both repeal and replace, then simply repeal, Obama’s landmark health care initiative.
After last week’s latest attempt to remove provisions of Obamacare ended with Sen. John McCain’s dramatic “no” vote effectively keeping it alive along with two other senators, Newsweek has found at least 70 Republican-led attempts to repeal, modify or otherwise curb the Affordable Care Act since its inception as law on March 23, 2010.
“I had a great meeting with the President and know he remains fully committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare,” Graham said in a statement Friday night. “President Trump was optimistic about the Graham-Cassidy-Heller proposal. I will continue to work with President Trump and his team to move the idea forward.”
How many more times that may take, is anyone’s guess.
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Analysts expect the bill would lead to millions of Americans losing coverage, similar to previous Republican repeal bills. Republicans might not even know the full extent of the new bills effects on the health care system because they are likely to vote on the bill before the Congressional Budget Office can release its full analysis. The CBO is rushing to at least a provide a bare-bones analysis by early next week. The Senate has now scheduled two hearings for Monday and Tuesday on the bill.
Senate Republicans need 50 votes to pass this bill, meaning only two Republicans can defect. As my colleague Dylan Scott has pointed out, Republicans always have 45 or so votes to repeal Obamacare. Its the last five that are the battleground.
Several senators who opposed the last Obamacare repeal effort havent taken an official position yet. So the vote could fail just like past Republican attempts. But all signs we have from Capitol Hill suggest that it could pass. Cassidy is actively working to persuade senators to vote for the bill and reaching out to governors, too, to pressure their senators.
Ive had governors calling up their senators, 14 or 15 governors, saying you need to get on this, Cassidy told reporters at a Friday morning briefing.
Gop Health Care Bill Would Cut About $765 Billion In Taxes Over 10 Years
But sentiment has changed on Obamacare, with Gallup Poll finding this month that 55 percent now approve of the ACA.
The AHCA faces a much tougher road in the Senate, and if it dies there, some of those vulnerable GOP members may have made what ends up being a futile vote.
But there’s another side to consider, too. For Republicans who have made the refrain “repeal and replace Obamacare” their mantra for seven years now, not acting on their signature campaign promise could risk depleting enthusiasm among their core voters, who they also need to turn out in November 2018 to combat a Democratic base that is energized against President Trump.
And after the first attempt at repeal failed in an embarrassing fashion, House Republicans and Trump badly needed a win. That’s why they took a victory lap in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday afternoon, even though the bill is far from becoming law.
“The American people expected us to deliver on the promises we’ve made and that’s what House Republicans have just done,” National Republican Congressional Committee communications director Matt Gorman wrote in a memo after the vote.
Republicans have pointed out that more insurance companies are pulling out of state-run exchanges, and the GOP bill will cut about $765 billion in taxes over the next decade, NPR’s Scott Horsley reported, though mostly for wealthy Americans.
Thank you @RepMimiWalters and for standing in front!
Meredith Kelly May 4, 2017