Senate Staffers to Begin Writing Healthcare Bill

The Latest Senate leaders await analysis of GOP health bill

"There does seem to be a consensus that the House bill could never pass the Senate and I'm certainly of that belief as well". The last-minute push was made after President Trump signaled that his administration would allow contentious culture fights to play out at the local level. A repeal of Obamacare was one of Trump's leading campaign promises previous year.

"What we have got in that bill right now hopefully will be sufficient and if it's not I guess we'll be hearing from the courts later", says Republican Rep. Brenda Dietrich from Topeka, a former school superintendent. But that's the goal. "And exactly what the composition of that [bill] is I'm not going to speculate about because it serves no objective", the Kentucky Republican told Reuters, adding that President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence could help whip votes again as they did for the House.

Republicans hold a 52-48 Senate majority. "We've had some very fulsome discussions, very genuine input, and that input is now going to be collated by committee staff and leadership staff and they will produce a product - we'll have a draft bill - that we can have further input on". It said consumers' out-of-pocket costs for those services "could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year for the (patients) who use those services". While this too will be hard, McConnell said, it is "not in my view quite as challenging as healthcare". Senators from states that elected to take advantage of the Medicaid expansion, including Rob Portman of OH, want a several-year phase-out to avoid a "cliff" that would occur if the expansion ended in 2020 as the House bill reqiuires. It comes three weeks after the House narrowly passed the legislation with only Republican votes, and serves as a starting point for Senate Republicans trying to craft their own version, which they say will be different.

Critics of the House version blasted the legislation after the Congressional Budget Office's updated score of the American Health Care Act projected 23 million more people would go uninsured if the measure was passed in its current form. The CBO also said federal budget deficits would fall by $119 billion over 10 years under that bill.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said he wanted to require maternity coverage and beef up federal aid to help states curb premium increases for people with pre-existing conditions.

"We're out of money to run the Legislature", said Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita. "This is a awful bill", she said.




Senate Republicans say there is a growing consensus that they want a slower phase-out of Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid health coverage for the poor than in the House bill, which would cut the program by about $800 billion.

The Senate majority leader is a taciturn traditionalist steeped in the ways of Washington, after more than three decades in Congress. Trump, a real estate magnate and reality TV celebrity who had never held public office until he assumed the presidency in January, airs his views regularly on Twitter and has vowed to drain what he calls the "swamp" of the U.S. capital.

"There clearly has to be a short-term solution that works with the transition until some of our long-term policy changes can take effect", Thune says. "No surprise to us", said Sen.

Republicans face a tricky balancing act. "If this bill becomes law and (is) what's sent to the court, I would plan on being back in Topeka in July".

McConnell in the past has promised to undo Obamacare "root and branch".

Senate Bill 603 directs the Department of Corrections to assess each inmate's risks and needs and come up with individual rehabilitation plans, making them less likely to return to prison. "Efforts to erode religious liberty are a threat to all liberty, and our religious leaders must be absolutely secure in the knowledge that religious freedom is beyond the reach of government".

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