Trump says he is 'very supportive' of Senate healthcare bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he hopes to hold a vote on the measure next week, though Johnson said Wednesday he "can't imagine" voting for the legislation on that timeline. The 142-page bill which seeks to reverse the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) has been pushed forward for Senate voting next week.

McConnell, R-Ky., released the bill Thursday after weeks of closed-door meetings searching for middle ground between conservative senators seeking an aggressive repeal of Obama's statute and centrists warning about going too far. Republicans can afford for just two of their members to vote no. Erasing Obama's law has been a marquee pledge for Trump and virtually the entire party for years, and failure would be a shattering defeat for the GOP.

To help pay for its expanded coverage to around 20 million more people, Obama's law increased taxes on higher income people, medical industry companies and others, totaling around $1 trillion over a decade. While President Trump and Senate GOP leaders debate about how many mandates and giveaways they will put in the new legislation, Sens.

The four are sticking together to get changes such as fewer government subsidies created to make health insurance more affordable. The long-awaited plan marks a big step towards achieving one of the Republican party's major goals.

The four senators who said they can not support the bill in its current form, but are open to negotiations, are Sen. Mike Lee, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz said in a statement.

"There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current healthcare system but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their healthcare costs", the quartet continued in their statement.

Lowell Brown, a healthcare attorney in Los Angeles, said the coverage rollback may not end up being quite as drastic, because federal legislators have said they plan to replace coverage cuts with other options. "I see this as an opportunity for us to be freed up".

Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada, facing a competitive 2018 re-election battle, Rob Portman of OH and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia expressed concerns about the bill's cuts to Medicaid and drug addiction efforts.

Sen. Susan Collins of ME reiterated her opposition to language blocking federal money for Planned Parenthood, which many Republicans oppose because it provides abortions.

And the Senate bill continues Obamacare subsidies, but limits them to a smaller group of lower-income people.

The House's version of the bill, which passed that chamber in May, is a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. Trump has since called it "mean", despite celebrating it at the Rose Garden with House Republicans.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release its forecast on the Senate draft next week. If passed in its current form, the Senate bill would greatly weaken Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides insurance to almost 69 million people, more than any other government or private program.

Obamacare had assured coverage to people with pre-existing ailments and restricted insurers from charging them based on health conditions. "That in turn will make the risk pool much healthier, which will also lower premiums".

  • Zachary Reyes