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Familiar Divisions Emerge as Senate GOP Works on Healthcare Bill

by Countable | 5.12.17

The version of the American Health Care Act that was passed by the House last week is unlikely to bear much resemblance to what Republican senators hope to eventually pass in their chamber of Congress — but the dynamics of the intra-party debate could be a mirror image of the debate that preceded it.

While the 12-member working group composed of GOP Senate leadership plus notable conservatives and moderates work to develop a plan of their own, lawmakers who find themselves on the outside of that group will be carrying out a similar give-and-take to what the conservative Freedom Caucus and moderate Tuesday Group went through to pass the AHCA in the House.

The moderate wing of the Senate GOP will find its voice with Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), two of the party’s more moderate senators who released their own plan to reform the nation’s healthcare system earlier this year. Their bill gives states the choice of keeping Obamacare’s mandates in place or developing an alternative with or without federal assistance, and elements of it could end up in the Senate’s final version of the bill.

That flexibility could help keep Republicans on board who represent states that expanded Medicaid — Sens. Shelley Moore-Capito (WV), Dean Heller (NV), and Jeff Flake (AZ) to name a few. Given that the GOP can only afford to lose two votes from its 52 senators, building consensus will be crucial.

Consensus, though, can be hard to come by in Congress. Conservatives like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who called the House-passed version of the AHCA "deplorable," take issue with its continued subsidies for premiums and want to see those phased out. Paul drafted his own bill to repeal and replace Obamacare earlier this year, which earned the endorsement of the House Freedom Caucus.

How quickly the Senate GOP can find middle-ground on the bill remains to be seen, but even when the Senate does pass the bill Congress’s job likely won’t be done. If the Senate amends the House-passed bill, the version that passes the Senate will have to go conference committee so lawmakers from both chambers can resolve the differences.

Stay tuned.

Tell your reps what you think of the House-passed AHCA and what you want the Senate to do to change it using the "Take Action" button.

— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr / Creative Commons)

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(86)
  • Robert
    05/13/2017
    ···

    Jim Banks Why not be the first Republican in history to do something for the middle class and lead your colleagues toward supporting Medicare for all? You would go down in history as a savior of American healthcare. Showcase your fiscally conservative roots by demonstrating to your peers that Medicare for all will actually save taxpayers and the federal government billions of dollars by removing profit from the healthcare system and introducing administrative efficiencies. I can see the headlines: "Republican hero Jim Banks extends healthcare program to all Americans and saves billions." The Republican bill is a transfer of billions of dollars from the healthcare benefits of poor and middle class Americans who need them to the wealthy Americans who don't. Republicans boxed themselves into a corner by promising to repeal and replace Obamacare and IMPLICITLY PROMISING A BETTER HEALTHCARE PROGRAM. This is not a better program. They did not promise to throw millions off insurance, to raise premiums, to deny women access to reproductive healthcare, and seniors to be charged up to 5 times more than younger people. This is a bait and switch bill that Republicans are using to save face. The only solution to the healthcare crisis is Medicare for all. Not the ACA, not a public option or any other alternative. Any attempt to fix a broken system will fail. Medicare is an effective, efficient publically funded system that uses private providers and controls costs. It needs to be extended to all citizens. Period.

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  • Thelma
    05/13/2017
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    The ACHA is a bill that shows all Republican's contempt for women, the poor, and the sick and vulnerable. The best choice, the only choice that will extend care for all Americans, is not listed - Medicare for all. Please support Medicare for all.

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  • Kodiwodi
    05/13/2017
    ···

    The AHCA passed by Congress was a costly mistake which will cost the GOP dearly in 2018. Do not make the same mistake by passing Congress' version or dig through that trash and try to save any of that bill. Don't pass it. Let it die. Leave the ACA in place and just stand up to Insurance companies and Big Pharma. Pretend you care about your constituents more than your party or your pockets.

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  • Al
    05/13/2017
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    Healthcare is a human right. Full stop! Instead companies add nothing but paperwork and claim profits. Are we a civilized nation or not?

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  • Holly
    05/13/2017
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    Quit working on it. We don't want it. We want universal health care.

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  • Gail
    05/13/2017
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    The House version of the AHCA is deplorable!! Any bill that passes the Senate needs to make sure the 24 million Americans losing health care through the House bill are restored in the Senate bill, that people with PRE-EXISTING conditions have access to AFFORDABLE good quality care, that being a SENIOR does not come with an AGE TAX and that being a WOMAN is NOT CONSIDERED TO BE A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION OR MAKING US SECOND CLASS CITIZENS and gives good quality health coverage for all stages in a woman's life!! NOTHING ELSE WILL DO!!!

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  • SouthernGal
    05/13/2017
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    The only healthcare plan Americans will accept is single payer. Work on expanding Medicare for all.

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  • Matthew
    05/13/2017
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    Let's HOPE to God and any other higher power, that compassion, dignity, humanity, and common sense prevails, although with the GOP making decisions I expect another TrumpCare aka GrimReaperCare. We all know GOP doesn't care about the 99%, people of color, women, children, the elderly, and intelligence when making decisions. Heaven help us ALL.

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  • Ticktock
    05/13/2017
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    The Republicans are not interested in a program that would provide healthcare coverage for ALL US citizens. This has been pursued since just after World War II with no results. They complain that the Democrats forced the ACA on them without any input or their perspective. We have an example first hand to show us why the Republicans never developed a healthcare program themselves, we've watched their debacle for 3 1/2 months now. In order to get healthcare for US citizens the Republicans ruled themselves out of the loop because they simply don't want to kill their cash cow, the insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical lobbies. The smart move would be to improve ACA, make it work. Make the insurance, medical and pharmaceutical lobbies know that the intent is to make the ACA work and keep the mandate, make that universal just like Social Security. The Republicans though will continue to dither until due to confusion all insurance providers will drop out of the program. The confusion that is perpetuated is being used by the Republicans to undermine the entire program and they know what they are intentionally doing.

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  • Nate
    05/13/2017
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    We need to have universal healthcare and finally catch up with the rest of the world.

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  • Sharon
    05/13/2017
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    Where are the women in this "brain trust"? (BTW-that's sarcasm).

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  • Hannelore
    05/13/2017
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    The Senate subcommittee convened to review (and hopefully completely re-write) the revision of the ACA that passed the House is comprised of 12 men. The pretext of this subcommittee is specifically designed to dismiss and demean US Women. Gender equality is imperative to the Senate Healthcare committee. For example, why would 50.8% of the US population trust 60 year old men to determine what is appropriate for women's healthcare standards when the current revision sent up from the House denies maternity care and birth control coverage while retaining/subsidizing/covering Vigra and Cialis prescriptions for men? That is ego-centric, self-serving, mean and male chauvinist at best. It is glaringly apparent that the subcommittee needs gender diversity of a 50/50 split OR be prepared to be voted out of office during the next election cycle.

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  • CJHipsher
    05/13/2017
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    Universal Healthcare is a human right. Jesus didn't pick and choose who he helped. He stood up for the outcasts, the poor, the sick. Everyone deserves the right to healthcare. Not just those who can afford it. Not just those lucky enough not to have a preexisting condition. Everyone.

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  • Wesley
    05/13/2017
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    Healthcare is a natural human right.

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  • Della
    05/13/2017
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    I find it incomprehensible how we spend soooo much, supposedly on defending our country from harm, when the health bill presented by the Republicans will kill thousands, and they think nothing of it!!! Who's defending our country? Certainly not the Republicans!

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  • Gus
    05/13/2017
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    The AHCA is a disaster for the American people and the Republicans who try and push through a plan that harms their constituents in a fundamental way. We will continue to fight for everyone's right for affordable healthcare. It really boils down to our "Right to Life"! To the Republican Senators holding "working" meetings (gang of 13) that do not include representation of half of Americans (women), is absurd. You only show this party's continued lack of respect to constituents that are not "White, Heterosexual men. Good luck with re-election without these voters!

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  • Ricky
    05/13/2017
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    Throw that piece of garbage the congress constructed in the same garbage can that you all threw your cake and koolaide in after the rose garden party you had. Senate do not dig through that garbage to try and find it either. Let it die just like the memory of the rose garden party is dying in the light of the trumpet boys Russia problems. Problem fixed. I should be a damn politician.

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  • Chuck
    05/13/2017
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    What ever version Republicans finally come up with, it is assured their plan will give huge tax breaks to the most wealthy on the backs of the people who need insurance the most

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  • Monica
    05/13/2017
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    To look people in the face and say this nonsense is the only way to proceed is unconscionable!! Making life or death a business to profit off of!! Like we as a nation can't see other countries and how successful and easy it could be. Keep us dumb and sick, then wall us off from the world and then bully everyone with our military..... sounds a lot more like North Korea than the USA.... so YES! I object!!

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  • Chuck
    05/13/2017
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    Trumpcare is an assault on the elderly, those suffering from pre existing condition and Trump's favorite target to abuse: Middle class and working poor. Fight this terrible bill! Fix ACA!

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