McConnell, Schumer trade jabs over health care


Democrats gearing up for a new round of battles against Republican efforts to do away with Barack Obama's signature health care law, are condemning a US Senate replacement bill being crafted by Republicans behind closed doors.

The Senate's decisions could have huge implications: Health care represents about one-sixth of the USA economy, and about 20 million people have gained insurance under the 2010 health law, President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement. It was a startling slap at legislation that was shepherded by Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and whose passage the president lobbied for and praised.

Said Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat: "The president had a celebration when the bill passed". A compromise bill was eventually passed, but apparently Trump is lobbying the Senate for more government control.

The Senate is supposed to vote on the bill sometime before July 4, which might seem like enough time for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to analyze and score the bill, but in reality, it doesn't mean anything because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and co. just would not release the details of the new bill.

And they will demand an open process to consider health care when the Senate reconvenes Monday.

Besides Bullock and Kasich, whose states Trump won in 2016, Republicans Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Charlie Baker of MA signed the letter. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said Republicans didn't even have "the guts" to show their heath care bill to Democrats or the America people. It is not clear whether McConnell, or more conservative party members such as Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Mike Lee of Utah, are receptive to keeping some of the taxes.

Asked to comment on Trump's remarks about the House measure, Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said, "Congressional Republicans, with President Trump's support, are working to repeal and replace this bad Obamacare law that is harming Americans".

In an interview with Reuters last month, McConnell said he did not yet know how he would get enough votes for an Obamacare repeal.

Governor Wolf said Pennsylvania stands to lose a lot if Medicaid is cut dramatically. "Now the president agrees with us".

When the leader of the Senate wants to hide major legislation, that's a hint he doesn't think it will be popular.

"Care for my son is costly", Hill said. Many Republican senators have pushed for a more gradual phaseout in their bill, as well as preserving certain protections for preexisting conditions under the ACA not maintained in the House bill. It still would preserve Medicaid and the 3-to-1 federal match for poor residents' health care.

"On behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus, I write to request that you and the Republican Conference attend an All-Senators meeting next week on the topic of health care", Schumer wrote in a letter dated June 15.

In all, more than 14 million Americans were enrolled in Medicaid as a result of the expansion.