Dems hit secrecy of GOP health care bill, threaten delays
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 20, 2017,
Jun 20, 2017, 17:44
If chosen, it would be a small, but significant change from the House bill that could have a major impact on whether moderate lawmakers ultimately vote for the Senate's version of the Obamacare repeal. Creator of Netflix series House of Cards Beau Willimon threw his support behind the Democrats, retweeting MSNBC's Christopher Haynes, who noted there has been no public debate on the Republicans' bill.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Schumer asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to hold an all-senators meeting to discuss a bipartisan way forward on lowering the cost of health care, raising the quality of care and stabilizing the insurance marketplaces.
Democrats are increasingly anxious that McConnell will jam the bill through the Senate with little debate, limiting their chance to scrutinize the bill and whip up opposition against it.
Several senators took turns standing and requesting that the Republican healthcare bill be referred to committee for hearings and calling for the draft text to be published.
Republicans have signaled one of the main internal debates focuses on reforms to Medicaid, the health care program for individuals and families with limited resources that Obamacare expanded.
Premera Blue Cross, the only insurer that offered coverage under the ACA exchanges in six Washington counties, said it was pulling out from two rural counties - thus affecting an estimated 3,350 people. "A bill so catastrophic that even the president, who hailed its passage, now called it 'mean, '" said Harris, who is getting early 2020 White House speculation.
"The Senate is working in secret and rushing to pass a bill", said Robert Restuccia, executive director of the group. A few days before approving that bill on Christmas Eve, Senate Democrats added in a 383 page amendment, which included the "Cornhusker Kickback" and other provisions.
"I think we'll have ample opportunity to read and amend the bill", McConnell said. Like 1994 and 2009, the lead on health care is being taken by the Senate Majority Leader.
While none of these measures can hold up the bill indefinitely, the Democratic protests will slow down the Senate business and likely bring more attention to the issue.
Asked if 20 hours is sufficient time to debate something that will affect one sixth of the U.S. economy, Burr said: "I believe it is".
"Until I see the bill and the [Congressional Budget Office] assessment of the bill, I'm not going to feel comfortable taking a position", Maine Republican Sen.
The difference between his private negotiations and how Republicans are trying to move their bill through the Senate now is that the details of the entire Democratic bill and the language he was seeking were well-known to the public, Stupak said Monday.