Dean Heller Joins Republican Opposition to Senate Health Care Plan

Justin Sullivan  Getty Images
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

24 June, 2017

Former President Barack Obama, whose health law was his biggest domestic achievement, said on Facebook the GOP plan "is not a health care bill".

"[The Senate bill] would phase out the expansion of Medicaid that lots of states signed onto to give more people health care, beginning in 2020, and make deeper cuts after that", says Zwillich. "So, I think this rally was about how this thing's dead", Cramer added.

Under special rules McConnell is using that will block Democrats from using a filibuster to kill the bill, the legislation can not include provisions that make policy changes that don't primarily affect the budget. His biggest concern involves dismantling the Medicaid expansion he enacted in Louisiana, which has given insurance coverage to 430,000 people.

About 20 percent of all Americans and 40 percent of America's kids get their health care through the federal government's Medicaid program. None of the Senate's 48 Democrats are expected to support the package, meaning the legislation survives only if no more than two Republicans vote no.

Heller, meanwhile, was skeptical Friday that Senate leadership was going to be able to provide the concessions he would need to support the bill.

"This bill may change, but Republicans will only be putting lipstick on a devastating blow to Americans' health care", said Sen. USA Today reports Heller is considered the most vulnerable senator in 2018, as he's the only Republican senator running for re-election in a state won by Hillary Clinton.

Four conservative senators expressed opposition but openness to talks: Ted Cruz of Texas, Kentucky's Rand Paul, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson from Wisconsin.

Senate Republicans on Thursday morning released a draft of their secretive Obamacare replacement bill, called the "Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017".

Sandoval said he would do "everything in my power" to make sure those people can maintain the quality of life they now have.

"Well, they are also four good guys and they are four friends of mine", said Trump. "The only people who are better off under their bill are millionaires and health insurance companies".

"It's going to be very hard to get me to a yes", he said, noting that conservative Republican senators would likely be reluctant to add spending back to the measure. The bill would replace its individual insurance coverage with new subsidies and requirements and cut federal funding for Medicaid. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care or expensive prescriptions.

Heller's announcement increases the pressure on McConnell to find ways of persuading several other reluctant senators to support the bill.

AP writer Regina Garcia Cano reported from Las Vegas.

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