Overnight Healthcare: Senate GOP eyes July vote on health bill

Overnight Healthcare: Senate GOP eyes July vote on health bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Republican leaders will present options on an ObamaCare replacement bill at Tuesday's GOP lunch meeting, as lawmakers get down to decision-making time on the bill.

Despite skepticism from some Republican lawmakers about whether a deal to get a bill to passage is possible, leaders are pushing forward and heading toward a vote on a bill, regardless of whether it has enough support to pass.

Senators and aides said leaders will present options on a healthcare bill to the Republican conference at a closed-door meeting on Tuesday. Aides said they do not expect draft legislative text to be available then, but said the presentation of options will help narrow down final decisions and move toward that stage.

"We're at the point where we have to start making decisions," Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGun proposal picks up GOP support Overnight Regulation: Senate panel approves driverless car bill | House bill to change joint-employer rule advances | Treasury to withdraw proposed estate tax rule | Feds delaying Obama methane leak rule Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-S.D.), the No. 3 Senate Republican, said after leaving a leadership meeting in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE's (R-Ky.) office on Monday evening.

Thune said lawmakers are "probably not quite there yet," regarding legislative text, "but I think that that's going to happen soon."

"We are narrowing the policy options and now the process is much more granular than it was when we first started out," he added.

"I think tomorrow you'll see a draft of the draft," Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsThe Hill's Whip List: Republicans try again on ObamaCare repeal No. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight Overnight Healthcare: McConnell warns Senate not to block repeal debate | Insurers knock Cruz proposal | WH tries to discredit CBO | Lawmakers propose .1B NIH funding boost MORE (R-Kan.) said.

Thune said "ideally" the Senate could vote on the ObamaCare replacement bill before the Fourth of July recess, or by the end of July at the latest, before Congress leaves for its August break.

Asked when the Senate would vote on a bill, Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGun proposal picks up GOP support House bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Republicans jockey for position on immigration MORE (R-Texas) said, "July sometime."

"My personal view is we've got until about the Fourth of July to decide whether the votes are there or not and I hope they are," said Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe Hill's Whip List: Republicans try again on ObamaCare repeal Another health funding cliff puts care for millions at risk Top Senate Dem: We're going forward with understanding we can work with White House on DACA MORE (R-Mo.).

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2sLaYfH


States scramble to prevent ObamaCare exodus

Insurance commissioners are pulling out all the stops to keep insurers from leaving their states amid uncertainty over ObamaCare's future.

They are offering insurers new, previously unheard of flexibilities to try to keep them in the market.

But the effort faces an uphill climb, given the Trump administration's wobbling over whether it will continue federal payments that compensate insurers for subsidizing out-of-pocket costs for lower-income households. There's also the question of whether Congress will repeal ObamaCare this year.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2rDqx9C


Senators want governors involved in health talks

Republican senators from states that expanded Medicaid enrollment under ObamaCare are pressing for their home-state governors to be involved in the Senate talks over a new healthcare bill.

The senators are skeptical of language in the bill approved by the House that cuts Medicaid by nearly $900 billion and ends the expansion of federal funding to states in 2020.

Republican senators want governors from their home states, who would have to deal directly with a cap on federal spending, to give their conference an analysis of the potential impact.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2rEWmkv


Anti-cancer groups warn GOP against Medicaid cuts

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society, is urging Republicans not to include Medicaid cuts in healthcare legislation.

Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN, wrote to Republican governors on Monday ahead of what the organization said were expected to be calls between governors and Senate Republican leadership this week.

"As passed by the House, AHCA could leave cancer patients and survivors -- young, old and across all income ranges -- unable to access or keep quality health insurance," Hansen wrote, referring to the American Health Care Act, the name for the House GOP ObamaCare replacement bill.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2qUqwkM


What we're reading:

Outcry over EpiPen prices hasn't made them lower (New York Times)

Drug deaths in America are rising faster than ever (New York Times)

Puerto Rico declares its outbreak of Zika virus is over (STAT)


State by state:

Cuomo takes steps to keep New York insurers in ObamaCare (Bloomberg)

Wellmark could change its mind on ObamaCare exchange in Iowa (Washington Examiner)

Montana prepping to collect first medical marijuana tax (Billings Gazette)