House GOP set to release healthcare bill

They are likely to release their bill when Democrats release the manager's amendment of their healthcare bill, according to aides familiar with the GOP strategy.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) said on Monday that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has had a copy of the yet-to-be-seen bill for the past few days.

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Republicans will be allowed to have a substitute on the floor but they must meet certain conditions, according to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), including that the GOP release the bill 72 hours before a possible floor vote.

Boehner told reporters he was optimistic that Republicans would have their bill ready by the time Democrats introduce their final manager’s amendment.

 “Assuming that they allow 72-hours for their managers amendment, I expect we’ll have our bill out there for 72-hours as well,” Boehner said.

Over the weekend, Boehner said the GOP bill’s aim was to lower healthcare costs, but not to provide healthcare to all.

On Monday, he promised the bill would not raise taxes and remain deficit neutral. He also said it would not cut benefits for seniors on Medicare.

Under the GOP plan, insurance companies will not be banned from denying individuals coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions however. Instead, those with preexisting conditions would become part of a “high-risk” pool of individuals to be insured, Boehner explained.

Leaders will brief the members of their conference on the details of the proposal at the closed-door conference meeting Tuesday morning.

Democrats have taunted the minority party with daily releases for not having a leadership endorsed alternative, even though the GOP leaders promised to do so.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office released a “fact sheet” late Monday afternoon to alert the media that it has been “138 days since Congressional Republicans promised they would release comprehensive health care reform legislation – and still nothing.”

Republicans have said that they did not want to endorse a bill until Democrats moved on their sweeping measure.

GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) on Monday said Republicans intend to hold an 12-hour live town hall meeting “coast-to-coast” over the Internet starting on Thursday at 1 p.m.

The minority party is set to open a “reading room” on Tuesday afternoon for members of their conference to read the nearly 2,000 page bill. Pence said that experts would be on hand to discuss the proposal with lawmakers, as well.

Pence said that GOP lawmakers delivered hard copies of the actual bill to libraries around their respective districts over the weekend.