Overnight Healthcare: Senate GOP leader expects health vote next week | Senate Republicans consider deeper Medicaid cuts | Dems vow to block Senate work

Overnight Healthcare: Senate GOP leader expects health vote next week | Senate Republicans consider deeper Medicaid cuts | Dems vow to block Senate work
© Greg Nash

Senate Republicans are planning to vote next week on their bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, according to Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoAfter Dems stood against Pompeo, Senate’s confirmation process needs a revamp Major GOP donor Friess to enter Wyoming governor race EPA to conduct 'full review' of information requests for Pruitt records MORE (R-Wyo.).

"I believe we’re going to vote before the Fourth of July recess on a healthcare plan, a repeal and replacement of ObamaCare," Barrasso, a member of GOP leadership, said on Fox News.

"Every Republican is trying to get to yes," Barrasso said while noting, "There are some differences of opinion on specific details of this."

The vote by the end of the month was expected, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP moves to cut debate time for Trump nominees McConnell hits back at 'ridiculous' Chinaperson remark GOP senator: 'We were there' on immigration before talks got derailed MORE (R-Ky.) wants to move quickly on healthcare and get on to other issues.

The timeline is fast, though, given that lawmakers and the public have not yet seen the text of a bill. That could come later this week.

It is still unclear if Republicans have the votes.

Read more here.


Senate bill eyes deeper Medicaid cuts

A leading option in the Senate's ObamaCare repeal-and-replace debate is to make even deeper cuts to Medicaid spending than the bill passed by the House, according to lobbyists and aides.

The proposal would start out the growth rate for a new cap on Medicaid spending at the same levels as the House bill, but then drop to a lower growth rate that would cut spending more, known as CPI-U, starting in 2025, the sources said.

That proposal has been sent to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for analysis, a Senate GOP aide said.

The aide said that plan has been described as a "consensus option that has been sent to CBO," though no final decision has been made yet. Another aide said there are still other options in the mix.

Read more here.


Hospital group warns of serious harm from Medicaid cuts

The American Hospital Association warned Senate Republicans Monday against including large cuts to Medicaid in its healthcare bill.

"Medicaid serves our most vulnerable populations, including Americans with chronic conditions such as cancer, the elderly and disabled individuals in need of long-term services and support, and already pays providers significantly less than the cost of providing care," the AHA wrote in a letter Monday.

The House healthcare bill's proposed $834 billion in Medicaid cuts would have "serious negative consequences for communities across America," AHA said.

While Senate Republicans are writing their own healthcare bill, they are considering making even deeper cuts to Medicaid than the House.

Read more here.


Dems fight back over 'secret' ObamaCare bill

Senate Democrats are threatening to grind the Senate to a halt in protest of Republicans crafting their bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare behind closed doors.  

"If Republicans won't relent and debate their healthcare bill in the open for the American people to see, then they shouldn't expect business as usual in the Senate," said Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerCan Mueller be more honest than his colleagues? Throwing some cold water on all of the Korean summit optimism House Republicans push Mulvaney, Trump to rescind Gateway funds MORE (D-N.Y.).

Schumer said Republicans are "drafting this bill in secret because they're ashamed of it, plain and simple."

A senior Senate Democratic aide said that starting on Monday evening, Democrats will object to "all unanimous consent requests in the Senate," though there could be a narrow exception for honorary resolutions."

If Democrats stick to the tactics, they will be able to block any committees from meeting after the Senate has been in session for more than two hours.  

Read more here.


House conservatives warn Senate on changes

The Republican Study Committee (RSC) is sending up a warning flare to Senate Republicans over changes to the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill, warning that the alterations "may jeopardize final passage in the House."

The RSC, which the largest bloc of conservatives in Congress, has drafted a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) raising "serious concerns" with the direction of the Senate's healthcare legislation.

The caucus says four elements are critical to keep in the healthcare legislation: Ending the extra federal funds for Medicaid expansion by 2020; Keeping a waiver that lets states opt out of ObamaCare insurance regulations; Repealing ObamaCare's taxes "in the most expeditious manner possible"; and defunding Planned Parenthood for one year.

Read more here.


Washington county finds ObamaCare insurer

Premera Blue Cross intends to sell plans in a Washington state county that previously looked like it would not have an ObamaCare plan, leaving just one county in the state without an insurer in 2018.

Earlier this month, insurance companies filed their rates and their intentions to sell health plans on Washington's ObamaCare market. When the results came in, two counties were bare.

At that point, Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler began contacting carriers and urged them to reconsider.

Kreidler said in a statement that he continues to "work diligently" to ensure consumers in the last bare county, Klickitat County, will have an option on the Affordable Care Act's marketplace.

The state's average premium hike is 22.3 percent, according to a news release. Other areas have faced the same predicament this year.

Read more here.


What we're reading

Senate GOP plans healthcare vote next week (The Wall Street Journal)

The drug industry is coasting on Capitol Hill, despite pressure over prices (Stat News)

White House task force echoes Pharma proposals (khn.org)


State by state

Nevada governor vetoes Medicaid for all plan (NPR)

Restored Kansas Medicaid funding expected to boost children's health providers (kansascity.com)

Nine companies file to be on Michigan's health insurance marketplace (AP)


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