GOP's Heller won't back Senate health care bill

Sen. Dean Heller R-Nev. during a press conference where he announced he will vote no on the proposed GOP healthcare bill at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building on Friday
One week. 52 senators. Can Mitch McConnell get it done?
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24 June, 2017

As he has multiple times since the ACA's passage in 2010, Obama conceded that the bill was less than flawless and vowed to support any Republican-backed bill that "is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost". "Well, they're also four good guys, four friends of mine, and I think that they'll probably get there", he said. "This bill ... is not the answer".

Echoing the other four, Heller said he opposes the measure "in this form" but does not rule out backing a version that is changed to his liking.

Later in the news conference, Heller held up a copy of the bill and said, "This is the bill that I'm voting for on Tuesday ..."

Senate Republican leaders may rely on the deal-making former businessman to lean on conservative senators who are balking at the bill.

"We're anxious about the burden it creates for the states", Kristine Grow, spokeswoman at America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), said on Friday. His home state has taken advantage of federal funds to expand its Medicaid rolls: As of March, more than 630,000 Nevadans had enrolled for Medicaid coverage, nearly double the number of enrollees who signed up in the state before Obamacare, according to data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Facing unanimous Democratic opposition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must get yes votes from 50 of the 52 GOP senators to avoid a defeat that would be a major embarrassment to President Donald Trump and the entire Republican Party.

This story will be updated. "Remember, ObamaCare is dead".

Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina is on record supporting the Senate's repeal bill, while Republican colleague Sen.

GOP Sens. Rob Portman of OH and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia also expressed concerns about the bill's cuts to Medicaid and drug addiction efforts. It did not sound like a lengthier phase-out of the Medicaid expansion would satisfy Heller the way it might satisfy, say, Ohio Sen.

The Senate bill proposes defunding Planned Parenthood for a year, but abortion-related restrictions are less stringent than the House version.

Further, the Senate bill would limit Medicaid even more over time by tying the annual growth rate of those funds to standard inflation, rather than more generous index of medical inflation, starting in 2025.

The American Health Care Act, passed by the House of Representatives, would take health care away from 23 million Americans, including 777,000 Pennsylvanians.

On Thursday Senate Republicans unveiled their long awaited legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act.

But the 142-page draft would allow states to drop several benefits which are now mandated, such as maternity care and hospital services, and also would abolish the requirement for most Americans to have health insurance. The deep cuts to Medicaid likely mean about 20 million Americans will lose their health insurance, including 4.5 million Californians. Other Senate "moderates" seem to be angling for a slower phase-out of the expansion and a slightly more liberal cap.

While Trump reportedly called the House bill "mean" and wants to see a bill with heart, Schumer said "the Senate bill may be meaner". It is health care rationing, forcing many to pay more for less coverage and limiting Medicaid spending in ways that are even crueler than the House bill envisions. "There's still an opportunity to make this bill better", he said. Each state has expanded Medicaid and has a GOP senator.


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