June 26, 2017

GOP, Dem governors agree with Trump, call health bill 'mean'

19 June 2017, 12:41 | Guillermo Sutton

Trump and Mc Connell shake hands at the White House. | Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

AFL-CIO launches big phone campaign vs. Senate GOP’s stealth health bill

A bipartisan group of governors are criticizing the Republican health care bill now being crafted in Congress, arguing the legislation fails to protect the vulnerable and shifts the financial burden of coverage to the states.

The problem is that the House provision may not meet the test for inclusion in the Senate's health care bill under special rules that let that chamber pass budget-related legislation by simple majority instead of 60 votes. This would likely mean restructuring the funding provided in the House bill to help states stabilize their insurance markets.

"It is deeply disturbing", Erika Sward, assistant vice president of the American Lung Association, told the Associated Press.

"I think right now we're still batting around ideas, but it's coming together", Thune said.

The House bill, once the CBO scored it, was projected to eliminate health care coverage for 23 million Americans and spend the savings on $600 billion in tax cuts, predominantly for wealthy taxpayers.

President Donald Trump (C) congratulates House Republicans after they passed legislation aimed at repealing and replacing Obamacare, during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House, on May 4, 2017 in Washington, DC.

While a core group of GOP senators is working on the bill, it appears that not all Senate Republicans even know what could be in it.

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So it's anybody's guess whether he'll applaud a Senate bill that's every bit as miserly as the House bill, or if he really means what he said Wednesday.

"I think it's being written, uh, by someone somewhere but I'm not aware of who or where", Sen. "My sense is you've got to start to develop a little bipartisan support, and working with Democratic and Republican governors is a good start". Because he knows the bill will be unpopular, he's keeping it hidden, even from many of his own members. "I've never seen a draft", he said, and chuckled.

"Americans won't forget that @HouseGOP passed a "mean" bill to rip healthcare from millions then celebrated @ the WH", said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. The Democrats who added their names were John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania.

The seven all opted to accept terms of the 2010 law that allowed them to receive additional federal money to expand the number of people covered by Medicaid.

Some Republicans in the House argued that the bill amounts to a tax increase.

Moderates are holding out hope that they'll see a more gradual "glide path" to end Medicaid expansion and that their leaders will find a way to make the tax credits more generous for low-income people, but nothing is set in stone leaving open a real question of if they'll be able to vote for what comes forward. They plan to bypass the committee hearing and markup process before bringing a bill to the floor through the fast-track reconciliation process, which requires a simple majority for measures to pass rather than 60 votes.

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