Push continues on Senate health bill; repeal-only vote a possible option

Which bad strategy shall we endorse today? Nicholas Kamm  AFP  Getty Images

Which bad strategy shall we endorse today? Nicholas Kamm AFP Getty Images

A senior Senate Republican aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that if lawmakers had been able to get the votes for repealing Obamacare first, then replacing it, "senators would have done that in January".

Marc Short with President Trump.

It's move that Republicans have tried in 2015, but don't seem to have the votes to push it through this time - many party senators oppose repealing the law - popularly known as Obamacare - without replacing it with a new one.

Their latest draft of the legislation would lead to 22 million more people to live without health insurance by 2026.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's desperate effort to win GOP consensus around his plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was rattled once again on Friday when Trump helped revive an old idea he previously rejected to repeal Obamacare now and then replace it down the road. When compromise legislation didn't emerge before the Independence Day recess, Trump promoted the idea that the process could be split up.

As Donald Trump's health secretary fended off questions about whether the president is too distracted by Twitter to focus on healthcare reform, the White House's top legislative liaison official said the Senate was "getting close" to agreement on a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement.

Trump is trying to revive an approach that GOP leaders and the president himself considered but dismissed months ago as impractical and politically unwise. Republicans, and the nation as a whole, would be better off leaving Obamacare intact.


Senator Mitch McConnell's clandestine health care bill, crafted in secret by rich white men, did not go over well.

"I'm not for that, but I'm saying I want repeal to work, and the way you do it is you separate it into two bills and you do it concurrently", he added.

Lee said he fears that might be the situation senators face today.

"We should do a repeal with a delay - I don't want to see anybody thrown off the coverage they have now - I would want a delay so we could get to work", Sasse said.

His comments come after the Senate's Republican leadership last week made a decision to delay a vote on their healthcare bill after it became clear it lacked the votes for passage. When the GOP was in the minority, the Republicans voted unanimously to repeal the law without any replacement at all.

"The fact of the matter is that he can do more than one thing at a time", Price said, in a tense interview in which he also refused to comment on the president's tweeted abuse of MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski. "They'll throw big high numbers but they won't understand what the impact is on the program". That's pretty much what happened, but instead of defining it in a way that made it easy to reach 218 votes in the House and 50 plus the vice president in the Senate, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell defined repealing Obamacare as slashing Medicaid, which is a very hard sell to even Republican members of Congress.

"Let's bring everybody into the room".

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