Live coverage: Senate GOP unveils its ObamaCare repeal bill

Senate Republicans unveiled their conference's healthcare bill on Thursday. We'll be providing live updates on reaction and what's included in the bill all day. 

GOP senator: 'Real concerns' about Medicaid cuts, drug treatment

4:23 p.m.

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenators look for possible way to end shutdown GOP reasserts NATO support after report on Trump’s wavering Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight MORE (R-Ohio) is the latest moderate GOP senator to raise concerns about the Senate's bill to replace ObamaCare, pointing to its deep cuts to Medicaid funding. 

"There are some promising changes to reduce premiums in the individual insurance market, but I continue to have real concerns about the Medicaid policies in this bill, especially those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic," he said in a statement. 

He added that he still wants to see the Congressional Budget Office analysis and said if "the final legislation is good for Ohio, I will support it. If not, I will oppose it." 

The Senate's bill includes $2 billion in opioid funding in 2018, falling far short of the $45 billion over 10 years that Portman and Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoOvernight Energy: Wheeler weathers climate criticism at confirmation hearing | Dems want Interior to stop drilling work during shutdown | 2018 was hottest year for oceans Dems blast EPA nominee at confirmation hearing Republican senators skeptical of using national emergency for wall funding MORE (R-W.Va.) were reportedly asking for. 

43 arrested in ObamaCare repeal protests at Capitol

4:14 p.m.

Capitol Police said 43 people were arrested Thursday during ObamaCare repeal protests in the Senate office building, where groups planned a "die-in" to show their opposition to the bill. 

Images from the  show Capitol Police forcibly removing protesters from the building, some of them in wheelchairs.

Obama: GOP healthcare bill a ‘massive transfer of wealth’

3:47 p.m.

Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump offers to limit his border wall to strategic locations Americans need an economy that supports more than the 1 percent Pompeo’s retreat into chaos MORE weighed in on the Senate bill Thursday afternoon on Facebook, calling out the “fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.”  

“The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill,” he wrote. “It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else.”

“Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm.  And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

GOP senator: Don't defund Planned Parenthood 

3:11 p.m.

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback The Memo: Concern over shutdown grows in Trump World Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal MORE (R-Maine) knocked a provision in the Senate's healthcare bill that would defund Planned Parenthood for a year. 

"I do not like the provision that eliminates federal funding for Planned Parenthood. It makes no sense to single out Planned Parenthood from all of the Medicaid providers," she told reporters.

The Senate GOP bill follows the same language as the House-passed healthcare bill in blocking Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood, which provides women's healthcare and abortion services.

Hospitals come out against Senate health bill

2:59 p.m.

Two of the nation's largest hospital groups have come out against the Senate GOP's health bill.

Federation of American Hospitals CEO Charles Kahn objected to the lack of "reasonable Medicaid structural reforms" and said the bill doesn't "sustain affordable, high quality individual coverage" or protect employer-sponsored insurance.

The American Hospital Association also urged the Senate to "go back to the drawing board" on its legislation, warning that the current healthcare bill could hurt the most vulnerable.

Warren: Senate GOP paying for healthcare bill with 'blood money'

2:20 p.m.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination O'Rourke’s strategy: Show Americans the real Beto 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend MORE (D-Mass.) lambasted Senate Republicans, arguing they are paying for their ObamaCare repeal and replacement bill with "blood money."

"Senate Republicans had to make a choice. How to pay for all those juicy tax cuts for their rich buddies. I'll tell you how: Blood money. Senate Republicans rung extra dollars after kicking people off their health insurance, and then they got to the real piggy bank—Medicaid," she said.

The Senate's bill repeals billions in dollars of ObamaCare's taxes while making deep cuts to Medicaid.

Warren warned from the Senate floor that "people will die" if the GOP plan becomes law.

"This bill has one flashing neon sign after another, telling us who the Republican Party cares about, and it's not American families," she said.

Republicans “were sitting around a conference room dreaming up even meaner ways to kick dirt in the face of American people and take away their health insurance."

Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPressure mounts for Trump to reconsider Syria withdrawal House Republicans call for moving State of the Union to Senate chamber GOP rep: 'Rand Paul is giving the president bad advice' on Afghanistan and Syria MORE not on board 

2:17 p.m.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), noting that he was speaking only for himself, said the bill does not repeal enough of Obamacare, calling core elements of the GOP draft such as its tax credits and stabilization fund "new entitlements."

He said now that leadership knows it doesn’t have the 50 necessary votes for the bill, he hopes a negotiation can begin. 

"The current bill does not repeal Obamacare. It does not keep our promises to the American people. I will oppose it coming to the floor in its current form, but I remain open to negotiations," he said in a separate statement.

Some senators not ready to vote

2:05 p.m.

Four Republican senators said they oppose the current version of the Senate healthcare reform bill and aren't ready for a vote on it. 

“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Trump AG pick signals new scrutiny on tech giants | Wireless providers in new privacy storm | SEC brings charges in agency hack | Facebook to invest 0M in local news AG pick Barr wants closer scrutiny of Silicon Valley 'behemoths' Grassroots political participation is under attack in Utah and GOP is fighting back MORE (R-Utah), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGroup aiming to draft Beto O’Rourke unveils first 2020 video Howard Dean looking for a 'younger, newer' Democratic nominee in 2020 Congress can stop the war on science MORE (R-Texas) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonCongress sends bill renewing anti-terrorism program to Trump The Hill's Morning Report — Shutdown fallout — economic distress Hillicon Valley: Republicans demand answers from mobile carriers on data practices | Top carriers to stop selling location data | DOJ probing Huawei | T-Mobile execs stayed at Trump hotel as merger awaited approval MORE (R-Wis.) wrote in a joint statement.

The conservative lawmakers said that while there are provisions in the draft that “represent an improvement to our current healthcare system,” the legislation as currently drafted will not accomplish “the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal ObamaCare and lower their healthcare costs.”

When asked if the four senators would vote as a bloc, Paul couldn't say. 

"We have an agreement on the statement, let's see where it goes from there," he said. 

Johnson said he needed more time to review the bill before he could vote yes.
 
"I don't see how I can get the information I'm going to need to get to yes within a week," he said. 
 
 

 

Schumer declares Senate healthcare bill 'meaner' than House version

1:55 p.m.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerProtecting our judiciary must be a priority in the 116th Congress Baldwin's Trump plays 'Deal or No Deal' with shutdown on 'Saturday Night Live' Sunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal MORE (D-N.Y.) amended his description of the Senate's healthcare proposal this afternoon, declaring the legislation "meaner." 

Speaking at a joint press conference with Democratic Sens. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySen. Murray says Washington behavior reminds her of former preschool students Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding Overnight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal MORE (Wash.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCongress should elevate those trapped in the gap – support ELEVATE Act IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries IRS waiving penalty for some in first filing season under Trump's tax law MORE (Ore.), Schumer used a permanent marker to edit poster that said "mean" to make it read "meaner." 

"Meaner! Can you read it? Do I have to color it in?" he asked reporters, looking back at the poster. 

"Yeah, you do," Murray replied, as reporters laughed. 

Wyden quipped, as Schumer darkened in his lettering, that he could have "another career as an artist." 

Senate Dems try to slow-walk GOP bill

12:56 p.m.

Senate Democrats quickly took to the Senate floor Thursday in a failed effort to slow progress on the ObamaCare repeal and replacement bill.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinBlagojevich's wife 'speechless' that officer's sentence less than half of husband's Trump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback Democrats signal they'll reject Trump shutdown proposal MORE (D-Ill.) both tried to block the chamber from taking up the proposal until the text of the deal was filed, had been public for 72 hours and gotten a score from the Congressional Budget Office.

"You can put a lace collar on a pit bull and it's still a mean dog. What we have with the Republicans in the Senate here is an attempt to dust up the edges of the House bill and say this is not as mean. ... This is still a mean dog," Durbin said. 

Their efforts were blocked by Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Former House Republican: Trump will lose the presidency if he backs away from border security Pence quotes MLK in pitch for Trump's immigration proposal MORE, who argued that Democrats hadn't read the bill. 

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) also tried to block the proposal until it gets a markup that is open to amendments from both parties. 

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump tells GOP senators he’s sticking to Syria and Afghanistan pullout  Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s attorney general pick passes first test MORE (R-Texas) blocked her request.

"This is like going by a car accident or somebody seriously injured and rather than stopping and rendering aid, just driving on by. That's our colleagues on the other side are doing," he said. 

Bill includes $2B for opioids — much less than moderates’ ask

12:45 p.m.

The Senate healthcare bill includes $2 billion for states to address the opioid crisis in 2018, a far cry from the amount several senators’ asked for.

Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) were seeking $45 billion over 10 years to help curb the nationwide crisis of prescription painkiller and heroin addiction. Both senators are from states hit hard by the opioid epidemic — states that also expanded Medicaid.

Medicaid is the largest payer of behavioral health services.

Capito and Portman hoped that extra money for the opioid epidemic could help add a buffer as extra funds for Medicaid expansion are slowly eliminated.

One addiction advocate predicted Wednesday that some senators will probably push for substantial funds for opioid addiction to vote for the bill.

It’s possible that money could still be added to the Senate bill to help win more votes.

CBO: Estimate of Senate plan may come ‘early next week’

12:35 p.m.

The Congressional Budget Office said in a statement that it aims to release an analysis of the Senate health care plan early next week.

The estimate, to be prepared with Joint Committee on Taxation staff, will be published on the CBO website.

 

 

Heller has 'serious concerns' about GOP healthcare bill

12:20 p.m.

Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerTrump’s shifting Cabinet to introduce new faces Trump's most memorable insults and nicknames of 2018 Progressive strategist says changing demographics will help Dems MORE (R-Nev.) says he has "serious concerns" about the bill’s Medicaid provisions. 

"At first glance, I have serious concerns about the bill’s impact on the Nevadans who depend on Medicaid. I will read it, share it with Governor Sandoval, and continue to listen to Nevadans to determine the bill’s impact on our state," Heller said in a statement. 

He added that "I have made clear that I want to make sure the rug is not pulled out from under Nevada or the more than 200,000 Nevadans who received insurance for the first time under Medicaid expansion." 

Heller is up for reelection in 2018 and is considered a key vote for the GOP proposal. 

Ryan reacts to Senate draft

12:19 p.m.

The Senate GOP health care draft “tracks” closely with the bill House Republicans passed in May, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAEI names Robert Doar as new president GOP can't excommunicate King and ignore Trump playing to white supremacy and racism House vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King MORE (R-Wis.) said Thursday, a development he called "very good." 

Asked whether the House would quickly take up the bill if the Senate manages to pass it or make further tweaks to it, Ryan said it’s too early to tell.

“It’s premature to say. ... They’re just beginning their process so we’re just not at that point of making that decision yet,” he said.

Ryan said he had not yet read the Senate’s bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare but had been briefed by his staff. 

GOP senator: Draft bill is ‘not repealing ObamaCare’

12:13 p.m.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said the Senate bill cannot claim to fulfill the GOP’s promise to repeal ObamaCare.

“I would not call this ObamaCare repeal. It’s definitely not repealing ObamaCare,” he said.

“I would say it’s trying to address and fix some of the mess, just some of the mess, created by ObamaCare. But that’s my concern. I’m not sure it’s fixing enough,” continued Johnson, who said he will study the bill more closely before deciding on how he will vote. 

Security carries protesters away from McConnell's office

12:06 p.m.

Protestors, some of them in wheelchairs, gathered outside the majority leader’s office shortly after the bill text was released.

Police have been removing them from the hallway.

 

 

Collins has ‘a number of concerns’

11:52 a.m

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a key swing vote on the Senate health bill, said she has "a number of concerns" with the draft released today.

“Senator Collins will carefully review the text of the Senate health care bill this week and into the weekend. She has a number of concerns and will be particularly interested in examining the forthcoming [Congressional Budget Office] analysis on the impact on insurance coverage, the effect on insurance premiums, and the changes in the Medicaid program," Collins' spokesperson Annie Clark said in a statement. 

"She has met with and heard the concerns of many Mainers about their health care challenges, and she will continue to do so as she studies the impact of this legislation on Maine and the nation.”

Schumer: Senate GOP healthcare bill 'wolf in sheep's clothing' 

11:50 a.m.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) ripped the Senate Republicans' proposal to repeal and replace ObamaCare, warning it appears worse than the bill passed by the House. 

"The way this bill cuts health care is heartless. The president said the House bill was mean. The Senate bill may be meaner. The Senate Republicans health care bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing, only this wolf has even sharper teeth than the House bill," Schumer said from the Senate floor. 

He added that Senate's proposal is  "every bit as bad as the House bill. In some ways it's even worse." 

Option for work requirements for Medicaid

11:46 a.m.

Like the House bill, the Senate legislation includes an option for states to impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries.

Five states have already asked the Trump administration for approval to require certain "able-bodied" Medicaid beneficiaries to work in order to be eligible for benefits. 

Trump says Senate health bill will be 'negotiated'

11:43 a.m.

President Trump expressed hope the Senate would pass a healthcare plan “with heart,” shortly after Republican leaders released their long-awaited ObamaCare repeal bill. 

“ObamaCare is dead and we're putting a plan out today that is going to be negotiated,” Trump said. 

Asked if he thinks the bill has enough heart, Trump responded, “a little negotiation, but it’s going to be very good.”

Senate bill bans use of tax credits for plans that cover abortions

11:42 a.m.

The Senate bill bans the use of tax credits for healthcare plans that cover abortions, with language would go into effect at the beginning of 2018.

The language includes exemptions for abortions in the cases of rape, incest or to save a mother's life. 

The bill would also ban the use of small employer tax credits to pay for plans that provide abortions. 

Conservatives in the House and Senate have said this provision is essential to gaining their support. 

McConnell pressures Democrats to support GOP healthcare bill 

11:38 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pressed Democrats to work with them on the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, warning the law is "on the edge of collapse." 

"They can choose to keep standing by as their failing law continues to collapse and hurt more Americans. But I hope they will join us instead to bring help to the families who have been struggling with ObamaCare for far too long," McConnell said from the Senate floor. 

No Democrats are expected to vote for the GOP legislation, though the majority leader pressured them to take part in what he said will be an "open" amendment process. 

"I would encourage each of our 100 senators to participate in when legislation does come to the door. It will present Senate Democrats with an opportunity to do what is right for the American people."

The Senate is expected to move to the healthcare legislation next week, setting up a floor vote before they go home for a weeklong July 4th recess. 

A small group of protestors are outside McConnell’s office.

 

 

Hatch: Bill needs more work

11:37 a.m.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchPhRMA CEO 'hopeful' Trump officials will back down on drug pricing move Live coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing Trump praises RNC chairwoman after she criticizes her uncle Mitt Romney MORE (R-Utah) says negotiators still have to hammer out problems with the healthcare draft before taking it to the floor next week.

"There are a lot of things that have to be worked out," Hatch told reporters after meeting with colleagues behind closed doors to review a draft of the legislation.

"I think people were concerned about what we're going to come up with finally," Hatch said. "There were a lot of questions."

"There's a lot that needs to be hammered out," he added.

He is up for re-election in 2018.

Planned Parenthood president responds

11:35 a.m.

“If this is the Senate’s idea of a bill with heart, then the women of America should have fear struck in theirs,” Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said in a statement. 

“Slashing Medicaid and blocking millions of women from getting preventive care at Planned Parenthood is beyond heartless. One in five women in this country rely on Planned Parenthood for care. They will not stay silent as politicians vote to take away their care and their rights.”  

Meeting included five presentations on bill 

11:23 a.m.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said senators saw five presentations from staff in this morning’s meeting.

He seemed generally positive about the bill, but said his staff would be working through the weekend to read and analyze the contents of its 142 pages. 

Bill would defund Planned Parenthood for a year

11:10 a.m.

The Senate healthcare bill defunds Planned Parenthood for one year, despite concerns that the language would not fit in with the chamber's budget rules. 
 
The bill follows the same language in the House-passed healthcare bill in blocking Medicaid reimbursements to the women's healthcare provide for one year. 
 
Two key moderate GOP senators, Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback The Memo: Concern over shutdown grows in Trump World Kaine to force Senate to hold rare Saturday session amid shutdown MORE (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine), had previously hinted they might not support the bill if it defunds Planned Parenthood. 
 
Collins said Wednesday if the bill included defunding language, she and Murkowski would introduce an amendment stripping it out. 
 
The bill also includes deeper cuts to Medicaid than the House bill, starting in 2025.  
 
It keeps much of ObamaCare’s tax credit structure in place, unlike the House bill that created a new, less-generous tax credit system. But the Senate draft still scales back the ObamaCare tax credits to make them less generous. 

 

Democrats begin to respond

11:03 a.m.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend Bill Maher defends Bernie Sanders campaign over sexual harassment allegations MORE (I-Vt.) released a statement on the bill, callig it “by far the most harmful piece of legislation” he’s ever seen.

“The bill Republicans announced today is even worse than expected and by far the most harmful piece of legislation I have seen in my lifetime. This bill has nothing to do with health care. It has everything to do with an enormous transfer of wealth from working people to the richest Americans.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also slammed it as a “harmful bill without a heart.”

 

 

Republicans didn't get copy of bill in meeting

10:57 a.m. 
 
Senators said they were not given copies of the bill during the meeting.
 
 
Flake is up for re-election in 2018. 

Senators begin to exit healthcare meeting 

10:55 a.m.

Senators are starting to trickle out of their meeting on the healthcare plan, which began at 9:30 a.m. 

Crowds of reporters swarmed Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) -- the consequence of being the first to exit the closely watched meeting. 
 
"Obviously we have a lot to look at," said the moderate senator considered a crucial swing vote for the GOP. 
 
 
Senate bill's subsidies would 'hit older people hardest'
 
10:50 a.m.
 
The Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt points out that the Senate draft's subsidies to help people afford insurance are set up in a similar way to ObamaCare's subsidies, but they cut off at 350 percent of the poverty level. 
 
"That hits older people hardest," he said. 

 

Draft text is released 

10:35 a.m.

A discussion draft of the Senate bill has been posted. The full text of the 142-page bill can be read here.

Senators are still in their healthcare meeting, which began at 9:30 a.m. 

The Senate draft includes deep cuts to Medicaid and would fundamentally reshape it from an open-ended government commitment to a system of capped federal payments that limit federal spending.

The bill repeals billions of dollars ObamaCare taxes used to raise money for the law’s coverage expansion and also abolishes the law’s mandates to buy coverage.

The health law’s tax credits to help people buy private coverage would be kept, but would be reshaped so that they are less generous and cost the government less money.

It also phases out the federal funding for ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid over four years -- from 2020 to 2024 -- less than the seven-year phase out favored by more moderate Republicans. 
 
Read more about the bill details.
 
 
Schumer jokes with reporters outside healthcare meeting
 
10:30 a.m. 
 
 
"I suppose you're wondering why I've called you here together - I have a copy of the infrastructure bill," Schumer joked with reporters as he walked through the second floor of the Capitol. 
 
He teased another group of reporters, announcing, "They gave me a copy of the bill!"
 
Democrats have blasted GOP senators for refusing to share their healthcare bill with them or to hold a public hearing on its contents.

 

 

Senate GOP gathers to see ObamaCare repeal bill 

10:19 a.m.

Republican senators are meeting in a Senate room to hear from their leadership about what's included in their ObamaCare repeal bill, which is expected to be publicly revealed later today.

The Senate hopes to have a vote next week on the measure, though it is not clear they will have the support to pass it.

A media throng has gathered outside the meeting room, and senators will be mobbed when they leave the gathering.

 

— Nathan Weixel, Jordain Carney, Rachel Roubein, Peter Sullivan, Alex Bolton, Scott Won, Jordan Fabian