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GOP not where it needs to be on health bill

03 July 2017, 02:00 | Lucy Hill

New boss same as the old boss

Healthcare Troubles

"If Republican senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately repeal, and then replace at a later date!"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., principal author of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, had hoped to jam through a vote on the measure before Congress left for the holiday recess. He told a gathering of Republicans in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, that "failure has to be possible or you can't have success".

Republican leaders are aware of the risks that the president and some of the party's lawmakers floated by suggesting not to replace the health care legislation at the same time as its repealed. But he reiterated that Trump believes Republicans should consider an option of immediately repealing the ACA and replacing it later, if senators can not reach agreement.

Trump - who for months has insisted that repeal and replace must occur simultaneously - glommed onto Sasse's idea in a tweet on Friday. "We are going to see what we are going to do", Trump said. Doing otherwise would invite accusations that Republicans were simply tossing people off coverage and would roil insurance markets by raising the question of whether, when and how Congress might replace Obama's law once it was gone. But some of the high-ranking Republicans who have been working on the legislation rejected it as impractical, noting that it might force them to fashion a substitute with Democrats.

Norquist said it's healthy for the GOP to be exploring ways to find a bill that can pass the Senate, but he said he doubts enough Republicans will ultimately support this proposal.

Although not all right-of-center voters put that goal first, the GOP ran hard against the health care status quo and won in multiple election cycles.

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Conservative and moderate Republicans have spent recent days pushing and pulling the bill in opposite directions as Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell sought common ground.

The split between the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare gave Republican leaders a large opportunity: They were in a flawless position to define Obamacare however they liked, and most Republicans (except for a handful of true ideologues and a perhaps larger handful of contrarians) would go along. Republicans have discovered they can't fix health care without paying for it, and keeping Obamacare's 3.8 percent surtax on investment income would provide $172 billion in extra funding over 10 years.

After the House bill passed, he held something akin to a conservative pep rally on the White House lawn, only to later call the measure "mean" as it hit the Senate.

As much as some senators and GOP spokespeople lied to minimize the bill's effects, polls indicated the public saw it - correctly - as gutting health care for the less fortunate while granting $600 billion in tax cuts mainly to wealthy Americans. The current draft repeals or delays all the taxes imposed by the 2010 law.

Yes, I know, Obamacare is the Affordable Care Act.

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