Saturday, July 8, 2017

NBC -- McConnell Downplays Prospect of Passing Health Care Bill

In his first public comments in nearly a week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday indicated that passing the GOP's health care bill remains a daunting prospect for a Republican conference so far unable to agree on key details.

"I'm in the position of a guy with a Rubik's cube, trying to twist the dial in such a way to get at least 50 members of my conference who can agree to a version of repealing and replacing" Obamacare, McConnell said at a town hall-style event in Kentucky. "That is a very timely subject that I'm grappling with as we speak.

But he also said taking no action on health care is not an option for Congress.

If Republicans are not able to agree among themselves, the crisis will still be there and we'll have to figure out the way forward at that point, McConnell told the crowd Thursday.

Robert Reich is optimistic. He says, “We may win this one, folks.

Today, at a luncheon in Kentucky, Mitch McConnell conceded that if Senate Republicans can't reach an agreement on their bill to repeal (and “replace”) the Affordable Care Act, they’ll have to abandon it and work to improve the Act.

What happened?

1. Time. McConnell didn’t hold a single hearing and wanted to ram the bill through the Senate before the public got wind of what’s in it. He failed. And the longer the public has had to learn about the bill, the more they oppose it.

2. You and tens of thousands of others have been keeping up the pressure over the July 4th recess. At events across the country, Republican senators have been getting an earful.

Those who support the bill -- including Ted Cruz and Pat Toomey – have been met with angry constituents. Those who oppose the bill – like Maine’s Republican Senator Susan Collins – have received thanks.

3. McConnell can't pass it if 3 Republican senators oppose. That ship has sunk. John Hoeven of North Dakota just became the 10th Republican senator to oppose the bill.

But it's not over until it's over. We need to keep up the pressure and defeat the bill once and for all.

By Leigh Ann Caldwell And Kasie Hunt