Senate Health Care Bill Hangs In The Balance As 4 Lawmakers Waver

Friday afternoon Nevada Republican Dean Heller became the fifth U.S. Senator to announce he could not support the newly-released draft health care bill.

"At first glance, I have serious concerns about the bill's impact on the Nevadans who depend on Medicaid", Heller, arguably the most vulnerable Republican up for re-election in 2018, said in a statement.

The Senate's health care bill is similar to the House version in that it would get rid of the ACA individual mandate to receive health care coverage, cut back on Medicaid spending, allow states to waive services, and defund Planned Parenthood.

"I can not support a piece of legislation that takes insurance away from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans", said Heller.

The legislation unveiled Thursday, which Republicans dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act, aims to preserve the Affordable Care Act's popular rule forbidding health insurance companies from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions.

Hospital stocks have been under pressure from the possibility of health-care reform because they have been more profitable under Obamacare, which the Congressional Budget Office said would result in 23 million more Americans with insurance over a decade than under the House GOP plan.

He said the changes he is seeking to the bill would go in the opposite direction of those sought by other current "no" votes - conservative hard-liners including Texas Sen. Republicans hold only a slim majority in the Senate, and can not afford more than two defections in order to pass their bill. Republicans hold 52 out of 100 Senate seats, so they can afford only two defections; in that case, Vice-President Mike Pence would be brought in to break a 50-50 tie. "Well, they're also four good guys, four friends of mine, and I think that they'll probably get there", he said.

Although some cuts are less extreme than those in the bill the House passed in May, others are not, so negotiations will be required to reconcile the differences, if the Senate can pass its bill with a vote expected next week.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, which represents health insurers covering more than 100 million people in the US, said it will continue to push for a replacement for Obamacare's coverage requirement as well.

Predictably, Democrats were firm in their opposition to the GOP bill. Sen.

In an interview with Fox News Channel, Trump was asked about the four conservatives opposing the bill.

The Republican version "hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else", he added.

"It's going to be very hard to get me to a yes", he said. "Millions of families will lose coverage entirely". Senate Republicans already planned to keep the Cadillac tax on high-cost insurance plans, but they shouldn't delay it for nearly another decade.

A comparative moderate, Heller supports the expansion of Medicare that was included in the Affordable Care Act.

  • Joanne Flowers