Lawmakers See Progress on Health Care Bill but Details Remain Scarce

Sen. Mike EnziMike EnziSenate GOP paves way for ObamaCare repeal bill Senate returns more pessimistic than ever on healthcare Trump's impatience with GOP grows MORE (R-Wyo.), the chairman of the Budget Committee, said this week that the House's bill complied with the reconciliation process, which will allow the legislation to clear through the Senate by a simple majority.

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. "We're doing the best we can".

Another key Republican also expressed optimism. "It's not everything that I want, but that's life, right?" James E. Risch, Idaho Republican, told reporters. Other senators declined, however, to explicitly address the waivers, as the Senate bill is being written.

Meeting with Republican congressional leaders at the White House, Trump praised the House for passing its own version of the health legislation early last month, and encouraged the Senate to do to the same. A 13-member working group of Senate Republicans includes lawmakers with varying views.

A growing number of insurers are leaving Obamacare markets or proposing steep premium increases next year, partly because of the law's weaknesses but also now because the Trump administration refuses to commit to steps to keep them operating, such as enforcing a penalty on people who don't get insurance and providing aid to low-income consumers. They envision gradually reducing the payments from 2020 to 2027, rather than the more abrupt rollback that would occur in 2020 under the House bill.

Under that timetable, GOP members would have to send a bill to the CBO soon to meet the end-of-June target.

House GOP leaders say the Senate version of the budget depends on unreliable financing and would lead to midyear cuts.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield said Tuesday that it's dropping individual exchange coverage in OH next year, citing a "lack of certainty of funding" for cost-sharing subsidies the government pays insurers to help reduce low-income Americans' health costs and "an increasing lack of overall predictability" in the market. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) indicated he would support an emerging deal that, in the course of repealing Obamacare, would eventually cut off new federal matching funds for the law's Medicaid expansion.

"The Senate, I'm sure, will follow suit and get it across the finish line this summer", Trump said.

Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both Tennessee Republicans, on the political spot, demanding they publicly state whether "they agree with this dark-of-night, one-sided, backroom repeal plan" and if they were "ready to rush a health care repeal bill through the Senate to appease President Trump". Patty Murray said. "And the minute they get 50 votes, this bill will be on the floor". But he added, "I'm seeing more and more clarity, and a narrower and narrower focus, and a smaller and smaller difference in the caucus".

"We need to bring this to an end and move to taxes", said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

One Republican considered a pivotal vote in the Senate debate, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, said he found the ideas put forward by leadership Tuesday to be "very cognizant of pre-existing conditions", and that he was reassured that Republicans might produce a broad bill he could support. Now, some Republicans are calling for a short-term solution to stabilize the markets.

Both issues are enormously hard challenges, and the tax legislation must follow, for procedural reasons, passage of a budget, no small task on its own.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released new statistics Tuesday that showed the House bill would shift costs to states which expanded Medicaid under the ACA.

"The way to get companies to come back to these counties is to say you're going to do cost-sharing permanently", Schumer said. The legislation that passed the House has few fans in the Senate.

Polls have found the House bill is unpopular. Under the House plan, it could be as high as 16 percent.

"It won't pass the House", he predicted.

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