With Self-Imposed Deadline Looming, Where Does Senate Stand On Health Plan?

Obamacare in 2018 Many will pay the price

Last week's show of unity appears to have worn off on Capitol Hill, as Senate Democrats are planning a massive slowdown of the chamber's business if GOP leadership doesn't bring its health care plan out in the open. Democratic senators will also make floor speeches late Monday on the subject.

The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to openly discuss the plans.

A group of seven governors, including three moderate Republicans, sent a letter Friday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urging them to find common ground on healthcare legislation, according to Business Insider. It would cut Medicaid by $834 billion over a decade, repeal $664 billion of Obamacare's tax increases on the wealthy and the health-care industry, and end requirements that individuals get health insurance and that most employers provide it.

Republican Conference Committee Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said the process of writing a healthcare bill has included all GOP senators rather than only those belonging to healthcare-related committees and thus can not be considered secretive.

But Senate Republicans who hail from states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare say that would cut off vital resources for some of their most vulnerable constituents much too abruptly.

The House passed the American Health Care Act in early May in a dramatic and sudden vote after abandoning a similar effort in March.

The strategy is a 180-degree shift from the Republican position during the 2009-2010 debate on Barack Obama's health care reforms, when the party demanded transparency at every step of the extended process.

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Republicans have said the House bill is aimed at lowering premiums and expanding consumers' insurance choices while getting rid of the mandates in "Obamacare" that require people to buy coverage. The NRSC says the event was planned to benefit the election campaign of Sen.

Democrats object to closed-door meetings that Republicans have held in recent weeks to craft legislation to replace Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act. A wide variety of GOP senators have complained publicly that they have no idea what the Republican proposal entails.

McConnell's office said they had no comment regarding the Democrats' plan.

"It's an iterative process", Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told Politico, adding that senators in the room are sending options to the Congressional Budget Office to try to figure out in general how much they would cost.

That's not going to happen in the Senate where non-expansion Republicans have argued that Medicaid-expansion states shouldn't be allowed to keep more federal money.

Republicans fired back shortly afterward with a release titled, "Does All-Out War Sound Bipartisan?" listing quotes from Schumer and other Democrats promising to do everything they can to defeat the emerging GOP measure. Or it could be forced to cancel its monthlong August recess as intra-party divisions over the American Health Care Act (not to mention the big items standing behind it in the queue) drag on.

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