Schumer: GOP healthcare proposal like giving 'cough medicine' to a cancer patient
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday ripped a floated change to a House ObamaCare replacement bill that's meant to address concerns about individuals with pre-existing conditions. 

"This Republican amendment leaves Americans with pre-existing conditions as vulnerable as they were before under this bill. High-risk pools are the real death panels: they mean waiting forever in line for unaffordable health insurance," he said in a statement. 

He added that an amendment being offered by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) "is like administering cough medicine to someone with stage 4 cancer."

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Upton is working on an amendment, which has not been released publicly, to the House GOP's ObamaCare replacement bill that would add $8 billion over five years to help people with pre-existing conditions afford their premiums.  

The GOP bill already includes $130 billion over 10 years. But a report from the liberal Center for American Progress found that high-risk pools are underfunded by nearly $200 billion over 10 years under the House replacement proposal. 

Schumer warned from the Senate floor earlier Wednesday that the House bill would not be able to survive the Senate. 

"The reality is TrumpCare cannot pass the Senate," he said. 
 
Schumer added that if moderate Republicans change pre-existing conditions rules they could violate the Senate's rulebook for using "reconciliation," a process that would allow Senate Republicans to avoid a potential filibuster and pass legislation with only a majority of the chamber.
 
The Byrd rule governs legislation passed under the special budget rules Republicans are using to pass the healthcare legislation. To pass muster, legislation must be primarily focused on addressing the deficit, which is why only provisions that have a budgetary impact can be included.