Overnight Healthcare: Trump pressures GOP ahead of vote | McConnell urges Senate to start debate | Cornyn floats conference on House, Senate bills | Thune sees progress on Medicaid

Overnight Healthcare: Trump pressures GOP ahead of vote | McConnell urges Senate to start debate | Cornyn floats conference on House, Senate bills | Thune sees progress on Medicaid
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President Trump on Monday urged Senate Republicans to "do the right thing" and vote this week to repeal and replace ObamaCare, even as the GOP effort appears hopelessly stalled.

Trump held a press conference at the White House surrounded by "victims" of the healthcare law who he said had been "emotionally and financially devastated" by skyrocketing premiums or fewer healthcare options under the current law.

"So far, Senate Republicans have not done their job in ending the ObamaCare nightmare," Trump said. "They now have a chance, however, to hopefully, hopefully fix what has been so badly broken for such a long time."

Read more here.


McConnell urges Senate to start ObamaCare repeal debate Tuesday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCongress had a good couple of weeks — now let's keep it going McCarthy: 'The Mueller investigation has got to stop' McConnell: Mueller 'ought to wrap it up' MORE (R-Ky.) is publicly urging senators to vote to allow debate on repealing and replacing ObamaCare, a day before the key procedural hurdle.

"The first vote we will take soon is on whether or not to have the debate. ... I know many of us have waited literally years for this moment to finally arrive and at long last it has. I would urge every colleague to join me," McConnell said from the Senate floor.

McConnell's comments come as leadership is expected to try to proceed to the House-passed healthcare bill, being used as a vehicle for any action, on Tuesday.

Read more here.


Cornyn floats conference on House, Senate bills

The Senate's No. 2 Republican said the two chambers might conference their ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bills.

"Initially there was some thought that maybe the House would take up the bill that we passed, but that may not be the case," Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell: Mueller 'ought to wrap it up' Senate rejects effort to boost Congress's national security oversight Graham jokes about Corker: GOP would have to be organized to be a cult MORE (R-Texas) told reporters Monday.

Cornyn's first problem is getting an ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill through the Senate, something that seems increasingly unlikely.

Republicans have struggled to win the 50 votes necessary to advance debate. The Senate is scheduled to vote on bringing up the House-passed ObamaCare repeal bill on Tuesday, but it is unclear what will happen next.

McConnell could choose to amend the House-passed bill with a a clean ObamaCare repeal with a two-year delay, or a repeal-and-replace bill that has fractured the GOP conference.

Several senators have expressed concerns over voting to begin debate when they don't know what will be voted on next.

Read more here.


Senate GOP: McCain may return for ObamaCare vote Tuesday

Republicans expressed cautious optimism Monday that Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDonald Trump is delivering on his promises and voters are noticing The Memo: Trump’s media game puts press on back foot Meghan McCain shreds Giuliani for calling Biden a 'mentally deficient idiot' MORE (R-Ariz.), who was diagnosed with brain cancer last week, will return to the Senate in time for a key ObamaCare repeal vote on Tuesday.

The final decision rests with McCain's doctors.

The 80-year-old lawmaker underwent an emergency craniotomy last week to remove a blood clot above his left eye. He was later diagnosed with a glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer.

Senate aides reported last week that McCain was alert and talking to staff shortly after the operation and eager to return to Washington.

Read more here.


Thune sees progress on Medicaid 'wraparound'

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMcConnell: Mueller 'ought to wrap it up' Graham jokes about Corker: GOP would have to be organized to be a cult Ernst, Fischer to square off for leadership post MORE (R-N.D.), a member of GOP leadership, said progress is being made on a change to the GOP health bill that could unlock the support of key moderates.

The Medicaid "wraparound" would allow some states to use additional funds to help low-income people who are likely to lose Medicaid coverage afford the premiums and deductibles for private insurance.

Asked by reporters if leaders will know by Tuesday if that language can be codified, he replied: "I think so. The group has been working on that and made a lot of progress, and I feel pretty good about where things are, with the exception of a score, which unfortunately takes some time."

Thune wouldn't say how much money would be attached to the proposal, but leaders have about $200 billion to play with.

I don't think it would necessarily be $200 billion, but there would have to be some allocation," he said.

Read more here.


But a new study says the $200 billion won't be enough

A new study says adding $200 billion to the Senate ObamaCare replacement bill would not be enough to fund private coverage for people who would lose insurance because of a halted Medicaid expansion.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma has been pitching undecided moderate Republican senators on a "Medicaid wraparound" that would provide funds to help people who were on Medicaid afford private coverage.

There has been talk of shelling out as much as $200 billion in additional funds as part of that effort to help low-income people afford the premiums and deductibles for private coverage.

But a study from the Urban Institute found that even $200 billion would not be enough to cover the costs for private coverage for people losing Medicaid.

Read more here.


What we're reading

Catholic nuns urge senators to oppose ObamaCare repeal (Washington Examiner)

McConnell warns wavering Republicans on ObamaCare repeal vote (Politico)

The Senate isn't saying what's in the health care bill -- but still plans to vote on it Tuesday (USA Today)


State by state

In Appalachia, two hospital giants seek state-sanctioned monopoly (Kaiser Health News)

Medicaid, pensions costs create budget complications for U.S. states: report (Reuters)

Indiana still wants to impose Medicaid work rules, with some exceptions (Indianapolis Star)

As medical bills rise, D.C. battle hinges on federal dollars -- not health (The Tennessean)


In case you missed it from The Hill

Trump jokes about firing Price if healthcare legislation doesn't pass

Price praises Trump's 'unprecedented' involvement in ObamaCare repeal

Conservative groups urge senators to vote yes on key healthcare motion

House Republican to oppose healthcare bill without New York provision

Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) Sanders If Congress takes no action, the Social Security trust fund will become depleted in 2034 Ex-campaign manager: Sanders is still eying another presidential bid DNC chair backing plan to cut superdelegates opposed by Dem lawmakers MORE to blast GOP healthcare bill at NAACP convention

Jimmy Carter predicts US will eventually have single-payer healthcare system