Senators Vow to Write Their Own Health Bill
They say they're not going to be rushed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2017 4:40 AM CDT
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky during a press conference.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – ObamaCare is "dead," President Trump declared after the House narrowly passed the American Health Care Act Thursday—but before he can sign the death warrant, a bigger battle looms in the Senate. Republican senators say they're going to craft their own ObamaCare replacement bill, and with the chamber divided 52-48, they're going to have to come up with something senators with views as different as Ted Cruz, Susan Collins, Rob Portman, and Rand Paul can all agree on. A roundup of coverage:

  • Republican senators have made it clear that they plan to write their own legislation instead of rubber-stamping the House bill, and they say they're going to take as long as they need, Politico reports. "Any bill that has been posted less than 24 hours ... needs to be viewed with suspicion," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, while Sen. Bob Corker said he "turned the volume off some time ago" and has no idea "what the House is even passing."

  • A big sticking point will be Medicaid expansion, with senators from states that expanded the program under ObamaCare fighting rollback efforts, the Hill reports. Nevada's Sen. Dean Heller and Ohio's Sen. Rob Portman are among those who've said they cannot support the House bill in its current form.
  • The Washington Post reports that other wild cards include moderate GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Bill Cassidy, who've already introduced an alternative plan, and the conservative trio of Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee, who, like the House Freedom Caucus, favor an aggressive repeal of ObamaCare.
  • Republicans plan to get their bill through the Senate through budget reconciliation to avoid a filibuster to pass it with a simple majority, though Democrats warn that parts of the House bill violate the budget rules involved, the New York Times reports. "This bill is going nowhere fast in the United States Senate," Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, telling Republicans they "should refuse to follow their House colleagues over a cliff, reject repeal, and work with Democrats to improve our health care system in a bipartisan way."
  • Some analysts predict that the Senate will be ready to vote on its bill by summertime, but senators have declined to provide a timeline. "When we get 51 senators, we'll vote," said Sen. John Cornyn.
  • Reuters reports that unlike House lawmakers, senators will be waiting for health care legislation to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office before they vote on it.
  • The Wall Street Journal looks at how the health care system would be affected in the unlikely event that the Senate passes the House bill as is. Winners would include health insurers and high earners, while hospitals, Medicaid users, and many people with pre-existing conditions would take a hit.

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