Senate Republicans plan to defund Planned Parenthood in ‘skinny’ repeal


Senate Republicans are planning to include a one-year defunding of Planned Parenthood in their scaled-down ObamaCare repeal bill, according to lobbyists and congressional aides.

The sources said the repeal of ObamaCare’s individual and employer insurance mandates, as expected, will also be included in the “skinny” repeal bill as a part of Senate GOP leaders’ attempt to pass any legislation to keep the repeal process alive.

The contents of the scaled-down bill will be discussed at the Senate GOP lunch on Thursday before they are finalized, the sources said.

{mosads}Many rank-and-file senators have been in the dark on the contents of the scaled-down bill, saying as recently as Wednesday that they did not know what would be included.

Senate GOP leaders are heading toward a vote late Thursday or early Friday with little time for lawmakers and the public to review the measure.

According to sources, it would cut ObamaCare’s prevention and public health fund and add money for community health centers, which Republicans argue could be an alternative to Planned Parenthood. The bill would also include an expansion of ObamaCare waivers that allow states to waive certain rules.

Repeal of the medical device tax is not currently in the bill, but could be added later, one source said.

It is possible the measure could have to change based on its ability to fulfill deficit reduction goals.

It is also possible Democrats could challenge the Planned Parenthood defunding by arguing it does not comply with Senate rules governing the fast-track procedure being used. A Democratic aide said they would have to see the text of the provision before deciding whether to challenge it.

“The so-called skinny repeal would have a devastating impact on healthcare in this country. Beyond blocking people from coming to Planned Parenthood, it would increase premiums by 20% and take away coverage for 16 million people,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

“The cruel irony is that Republicans are selling the ‘skinny repeal’ as giving individuals more choice and freedom, while the Planned Parenthood provision would deny women the choice or freedom to go to the provider they trust,” she said.

The scaled-down measure appears to have momentum, but it is not entirely clear that it has the votes to pass. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said in a radio interview Thursday morning that he is “quite optimistic.”

Most senators have said the bill would go to conference committee with the House after it passes the Senate, where a new deal could be worked out. But there are also rumblings that the House could just pass the Senate-passed measure.

A Congressional Budget Office score of what Democrats estimate the skinny repeal bill will be found that it would result in 16 million more uninsured people and increase premiums by about 20 percent.

–This report was updated at 12:47 p.m.

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