Overnight Healthcare: Senate GOP eyes July vote on health bill

Overnight Healthcare: Senate GOP eyes July vote on health bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Republican leaders will present options on an ObamaCare replacement bill at Tuesday's GOP lunch meeting, as lawmakers get down to decision-making time on the bill.

Despite skepticism from some Republican lawmakers about whether a deal to get a bill to passage is possible, leaders are pushing forward and heading toward a vote on a bill, regardless of whether it has enough support to pass.

Senators and aides said leaders will present options on a healthcare bill to the Republican conference at a closed-door meeting on Tuesday. Aides said they do not expect draft legislative text to be available then, but said the presentation of options will help narrow down final decisions and move toward that stage.


"We're at the point where we have to start making decisions," Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump encounters GOP resistance to investigating Hunter Biden Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: Public impeachment hearings to begin next week MORE (R-S.D.), the No. 3 Senate Republican, said after leaving a leadership meeting in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell protege emerges as Kentucky's next rising star Hillicon Valley: Schumer questions Army over use of TikTok | Federal court rules against random searches of travelers' phones | Groups push for election security funds in stopgap bill | Facebook's new payment feature | Disney+ launch hit by glitches McConnell, GOP leaders say they won't be watching House impeachment hearing MORE's (R-Ky.) office on Monday evening.

Thune said lawmakers are "probably not quite there yet," regarding legislative text, "but I think that that's going to happen soon."

"We are narrowing the policy options and now the process is much more granular than it was when we first started out," he added.

"I think tomorrow you'll see a draft of the draft," Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsEleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid Pressure builds on Pompeo as impeachment inquiry charges ahead GOP lawmakers fear Trump becoming too consumed by impeachment fight MORE (R-Kan.) said.

Thune said "ideally" the Senate could vote on the ObamaCare replacement bill before the Fourth of July recess, or by the end of July at the latest, before Congress leaves for its August break.

Asked when the Senate would vote on a bill, Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell, GOP leaders say they won't be watching House impeachment hearing GOP senators warn against Trump firing intelligence community official Falling investment revives attacks against Trump's tax cuts MORE (R-Texas) said, "July sometime."

"My personal view is we've got until about the Fourth of July to decide whether the votes are there or not and I hope they are," said Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntMcConnell, GOP leaders say they won't be watching House impeachment hearing Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week MORE (R-Mo.).

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2sLaYfH


States scramble to prevent ObamaCare exodus

Insurance commissioners are pulling out all the stops to keep insurers from leaving their states amid uncertainty over ObamaCare's future.

They are offering insurers new, previously unheard of flexibilities to try to keep them in the market.

But the effort faces an uphill climb, given the Trump administration's wobbling over whether it will continue federal payments that compensate insurers for subsidizing out-of-pocket costs for lower-income households. There's also the question of whether Congress will repeal ObamaCare this year.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2rDqx9C


Senators want governors involved in health talks

Republican senators from states that expanded Medicaid enrollment under ObamaCare are pressing for their home-state governors to be involved in the Senate talks over a new healthcare bill.

The senators are skeptical of language in the bill approved by the House that cuts Medicaid by nearly $900 billion and ends the expansion of federal funding to states in 2020.

Republican senators want governors from their home states, who would have to deal directly with a cap on federal spending, to give their conference an analysis of the potential impact.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2rEWmkv


Anti-cancer groups warn GOP against Medicaid cuts

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society, is urging Republicans not to include Medicaid cuts in healthcare legislation.

Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN, wrote to Republican governors on Monday ahead of what the organization said were expected to be calls between governors and Senate Republican leadership this week.

"As passed by the House, AHCA could leave cancer patients and survivors -- young, old and across all income ranges -- unable to access or keep quality health insurance," Hansen wrote, referring to the American Health Care Act, the name for the House GOP ObamaCare replacement bill.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2qUqwkM


What we're reading:

Outcry over EpiPen prices hasn't made them lower (New York Times)

Drug deaths in America are rising faster than ever (New York Times)

Puerto Rico declares its outbreak of Zika virus is over (STAT)


State by state:

Cuomo takes steps to keep New York insurers in ObamaCare (Bloomberg)

Wellmark could change its mind on ObamaCare exchange in Iowa (Washington Examiner)

Montana prepping to collect first medical marijuana tax (Billings Gazette)