Overnight Healthcare: Moderates holding back support for new Senate bill

Overnight Healthcare: Moderates holding back support for new Senate bill

Senate Republicans unveil revised healthcare bill

Senate Republican leaders on Thursday unveiled a revised version of their bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare as they race toward a high-stakes vote next week.

The measure includes changes intended to win over additional votes, with leadership making concessions aimed at bringing both conservatives and moderates on board.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell vents over 'fake news' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Tensions rise as U.S. waits for Derek Chauvin verdict Trump looking 'beyond seriously' at 2024 run MORE (R-Ky.) is facing a tough task in finding enough votes to pass the bill. Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins joins Democrats in bid to undo Trump methane emissions rollback Biden dispatches Cabinet members to sell infrastructure plan Senate confirms SEC chief Gensler to full five-year term MORE (R-Maine) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOn The Money: Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl | Senate confirms SEC chief Gensler to full five-year term | Left-leaning group raises concerns about SALT cap repeal Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl 15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban MORE (R-Ky.) appear to be firmly against the measure, and one other defection would kill the bill.

Overall, McConnell appears to have shifted the revised bill more toward the conservatives than the moderates.


Importantly, the bill largely keeps the Medicaid sections the same, meaning that deeper cuts to the program will still begin in 2025, and the funds for ObamaCare's expansion of Medicaid will still end in 2024.

The changes to Medicaid have emerged as a top concern for moderates such as Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanHow to save the Amazon rainforest Biden to offer 22K additional guest worker visas, 6K targeted toward Northern Triangle GOP Rep. Steve Stivers plans to retire MORE (R-Ohio), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoGOP eyes new strategy to derail Biden infrastructure plan On The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump official delayed releasing information on cancer-linked chemical in Illinois: watchdog | Advocacy groups say tech giants need to 'step it up' on sustainability |  GOP senator: Raising corporate taxes is a 'non-starter' MORE (R-W.Va.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump: GOP candidates need to embrace 'make America great' agenda if they want to win Republicans who backed Trump impeachment see fundraising boost Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats MORE (R-Alaska).

For the conservatives, the measure includes a version of an amendment from Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOn The Money: Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl | Senate confirms SEC chief Gensler to full five-year term | Left-leaning group raises concerns about SALT cap repeal Biden watching Derek Chauvin verdict from West Wing Cruz opposed to state lawmaker's bid to replace Wright in Congress MORE (R-Texas) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeBig Tech set to defend app stores in antitrust hearing Hillicon Valley: Apple approves Parler's return to App Store | White House scales back response to SolarWinds, Microsoft incidents | Pressure mounts on DHS over relationship with Clearview AI 15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban MORE (R-Utah) aimed at allowing insurers to offer plans that do not meet all of ObamaCare's regulations, including those protecting people with pre-existing conditions and mandating that plans cover certain services, such as maternity care and mental healthcare.

Conservatives argue the change would allow healthier people to buy cheaper plans, but moderates and many healthcare experts warn that premiums would spike for the sick people remaining in the more generous insurance plans.

Read more here.

And click here to read the bill.


Moderates holding back support for new Senate bill

It's unclear whether Senate Republicans have the votes to win on a key procedural motion that would allow them to debate the new healthcare bill they released on Thursday.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) both said they would oppose the motion, meaning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) cannot afford another defection on the vote.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said his position had not changed, but he did not give a clear answer on whether he'd back his party on the procedural vote.

Asked whether he would vote for the motion to proceed, Portman said, "No."

But he added: "I'm the same position I've been in. I'm looking at the language."

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who has been an ally of Portman's during the healthcare talks, said she doesn't know whether she'll vote to proceed to the bill after hearing a presentation from Senate Republican leaders at the Capitol.

"We have another meeting this afternoon on the Medicaid cuts," she told reporters. "I need to really look at it, look at the score, I still have concerns."

Asked if she would vote for the motion to proceed next week, she said, "Wait and see."

Read more here.


Senate GOP may not use CBO to score Cruz amendment

Senate Republicans may not use the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to score a version of Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) controversial amendment that was included in the updated Senate healthcare bill.

Instead, a member of Senate GOP leadership said analysis from the Trump administration -- including the Health and Human Services Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget -- might be used instead of the nonpartisan CBO.

That could provide a much more favorable analysis for the bill. The CBO found that the House bill repealing and replacing ObamaCare would lead to 23 million people being uninsured over a decade. Analysis from HHS found the number to be 13 million.

Read more here.


Graham, Cassidy healthcare proposal shifts decisions to states

An amendment to the GOP's healthcare plan written by two Republican senators would shift the majority of federal funding and decisionmaking on ObamaCare directly to the states.

The new plan released Thursday morning and written by Republican Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Energy: Biden reportedly will pledge to halve US emissions by 2030 | Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP draws line on taxes; nation braces for Chauvin verdict Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl MORE (S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (La.) would block grant about $500 billion of federal spending to the states over 10 years to either repeal, repair or keep their ObamaCare programs.

The senators said Thursday that their amendment is being offered as a way to bridge the divide between Republicans as they struggle to reach 50 votes on their healthcare bill. They also hope the amendment could attract support from Democrats.

Read more here.


Trump: Healthcare harder than achieving Mideast peace

President Trump this week lamented the difficulty of passing the Republican healthcare plan though Congress, likening it to the decadeslong Israel-Palestine conflict.

"I'd say the only thing more difficult than peace between Israel and the Palestinians is healthcare," he told reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday night en route to France.

The comments came one day before Senate Republican leaders unveiled a revised version of their bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, with the hopes of holding a vote next week.

Leaders still face an uphill battle in finding enough votes to pass the bill, with both moderate and conservative senators opposed to the updated measure.

"It's like this narrow road that's about a quarter of an inch wide," Trump said of the vote-counting operation. "You get a couple here and you say, great, and then you find out you just lost four over here. Healthcare is tough."

Read more here.


Bipartisan group pushes caregiver tax credit

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is working to provide a tax credit for family caregivers they say is a step toward recognizing the financial sacrifices caregivers often have to make.

Several members of Congress detailed this legislation to create a federal, nonrefundable tax credit of up to $3,000 for family caregivers who work. They discussed why it was needed -- at times diving into very personal stories of their experiences as a caregiver -- at The Hill's Cost of Caring: Family Caregivers and Tax Reform event Thursday morning, sponsored by AARP.

Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) is an only child whose father died 30 years before his mother started showing the first signs of dementia. He chose for her to live at home instead of a nursing home, and spent the about $60,000 he had saved up for an apartment within a year.

"My goal was to keep her home no matter what it cost," Donovan said.

But passing legislation isn't easy in a fiercely divided Congress.

Read more here.


What we're reading

GOP health bill steers cash to the home state of a reluctant senator (Bloomberg)

Senate Republicans exempt own health coverage from part of latest proposal (Vox)

Despite doomsday rhetoric, ObamaCare markets are stabilizing (Politico)


State by state

Colorado Medicaid system data breach potentially exposed private information of 822 people (The Denver Post)

Indiana's role in the largest healthcare fraud takedown ever (Indy Star)

With little notice, Pennsylvania Republicans push Medicaid work requirements (PennLive.com)