Republican Senator Dean Heller opposes health care bill

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.

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin). People are removed from a sit-in outside of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office as they protest proposed cuts to Medicaid, Thursday, June 22, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Look forward to making it really special! The idea was a relatively late addition to Trump's talking points.

Under special rules McConnell is using that will block Democrats from using a filibuster to kill the bill, the legislation can not include provisions that make policy changes that don't primarily affect the budget.

McConnell, eager to approve the legislation next week, indicated he was open to changes before it reaches the Senate floor, but he said it was time to act.

"Leadership knows how I feel and what I need", Heller said, but another question is whether leadership will need him.

"These people who are busting it, working 60 hours a week and they've seen their premiums double and their coverage cut in half, it's the craziest system in the world". Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

The senator said he was unlikely to support the overhaul unless it was amended to "protect Medicaid expansion states", as he put it.

The group said in a statement Friday it's encouraged that the Senate bill would take immediate action to stabilize shaky insurance markets by guaranteeing billions of dollars in subsidies under jeopardy due to a legal dispute and political maneuvering.

"If we roll that back at a time when Medicaid has been the largest benefit to getting these folks treatment, we're going to see the number of overdoses, not just in OH, but across the country, they're going to skyrocket".

Already conservative GOP Sens. There is uncertainty over whether abortion-related provisions will meet Senate rules, but those provisions could be included in another Senate bill.

Obama also slammed the Republican legislation on Thursday in a lengthy Facebook post.

"If there's a chance you might get sick, get old or start a family, this bill will do you harm", he wrote.

With Republicans in the Senate holding only a 52-48 seat edge, they can afford only two defections to get to a 50-50 tie, allowing Vice President Pence to then presumably break any logjam.

Trump later criticized the House bill privately as "mean" and this week called for a health plan "with heart". A White House official said the Trump has pushed his team to stay involved and plans to flex his negotiating muscle, the official said. The CBO is expected to weigh in on the Senate draft bill early next week.

And in a separate statement, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown says the GOP Senate bill would hamper the state's progress in slowing the opioid epidemic, calling Medicaid the "number one tool" in the fight against opioids. They could buy insurance with tax credits, based on income. Under the Senate plan, for example, people in their 50s would face premiums of more than $1,000 a month on the federal exchange - up 13 percent from today.

The bill would let states get waivers to ignore some coverage requirements under Obama's law, such as specific health services insurers must now cover.

  • Leroy Wright