Thursday, July 13, 2017

Politico -- Senate moderates sidelined in new Obamacare repeal bill

Centrist Republicans are still opposed to deep Medicaid cuts, potentially dooming the GOP effort to gut the health law.

On Wednesday, in response to a closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans, Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski criticized GOP leaders’ attempt to scale back Medicaid spending in their repeal efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

In repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), she said that it was wrong to focus on Medicaid:“The ACA allowed for Medicaid expansion. The ACA didn’t address traditional Medicaid. … Why do we not focus on the urgency of the concerns with the ACA? Let’s deal with the urgency of the issue. Let’s set Medicaid off to the side.”
“Murkowski has the support of Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, a Republican generally aligned with leadership, according to senators and people familiar with the conversations.

Senate Republicans say they will unveil another version of their health care bill on Thursday. There are no major changes that will satisfy senators concerned about winding down Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion or aggressive Medicaid cuts. So even as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell struggles to keep restive conservatives like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee on board, lingering concerns from moderates like Murkowski could signal the bill’s demise.

McConnell told a crowd last Thursday that “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.”  

Robert Reich said he is optimistic. “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.

By Burgess Everett and Rachana Pradhan