On Thursday, in the worst possible time, Senate Republicans’ efforts to amend Obamacare came upon an unexpected obstruction when two moderate Republican lawmakers said they will introduce their own health care bill.
Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham’s effort to introduce a bill of their own on CNN, shortly before House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell briefed legislators, just displays the dissonance in the Senate chamber among Republican lawmakers in their efforts to repeal and replace Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
The two Republican Senators said during a joint meeting on Thursday with CNN that they will use the billions the government receives in taxes under Obamacare and transfer the money to the states.
“We’re gonna see which one can get 50 votes,” said Lindsey Graham, talking about the number of Republican lawmakers required to enforce any measure in the Senate, considering that Vice President Pence will be the decisive vote. “We’re not undercutting him; he’s not undercutting us.”
“Our problem has been trying to combine tax reform with replacement of Obamacare,” argued Cassidy. “We’re giving the money back to the states. The states can do what they want to do. A blue state can do a blue thing; a red state can do a red thing.”
The surprise announcement just before Senate GOP leaders released a revised health-care proposal Thursday that would allow insurers to sell austere plans that do not comply with requirements imposed under the Affordable Care Act.
GOP Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who co-authored the provision for insurers to offer moderate coverage plans on the government health care exchange, said during a discussion on radio that the new bill proposal will contain a version of his amendment, adding that this “is a very positive development” for the reform.
“I think we’re making serious progress toward coming together and unifying our conference,” said Cruz, who appeared on Mike Broomhead 550 KFYI Phoenix radio show with Republican Senator of Arizona, Jeff Flake. Both lawmakers have refused to support the Republican proposed bill that would fix Obamacare.
Details of the proposal were closely guarded Thursday morning, and it was unclear what precise form the Cruz idea would take in the final bill.
There were no details immediately available for the proposed health care bill and at this point it is uncertain what direction Cruz’s proposition will take.
The Texas Senator’s intention is to enable insurers to sell plans that do not adhere to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, including mandated coverage for preventive care, mental and substance abuse care, given that they offer at least one that does.
“What it is focused on, front and center is lowering premiums,” said Cruz about his amendment to the measure. “You, the consumer should have the freedom to purchase the insurance you want.”
To read the full article as reported by The Washington Post, click here.
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