Republicans Insist They're Being Transparent With Their Hidden Health Care Bill

Senate Republicans are moving ahead with their plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act but staring down a quickly approaching target vote date, as President Donald Trump ramps up pressure to replace his predecessor's health-care law. That's what we're going to do. They also seem to undercut efforts by Senate conservatives to impose restrictions in their chamber's legislation, such as curbing the Medicaid health care program for the poor and limiting the services insurers must cover.

To pass, the bill will need the support of a diverse contingent of Republican Senators-the more conservative members, like Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), and more moderate ones, like Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). "The Republican Senate bill, under reconciliation, will go to the Senate floor, and be open for amendments". Republicans like Sens. Rob Portman of OH and Dean Heller of Nevada are pressing for a longer phaseout of enhanced federal funding for the expansion, The Wall Street Journal wrote late last week.

If that happens, McConnell cannot afford to lose a single Republican vote, as the Senate has a slim 52 Republican majority.

With an Obamacare repeal bill still being developed in the Senate, insurance companies are left in limbo when deciding to whether to participate in Obamacare markets in 2018 or rely on legislative progress.

Republicans have been struggling to find 51 members who agree on a measure, and have been working in closed-door groups to come up with a bill ever since the House passed a measure that would leave an additional 23 million people without insurance coverage. His legislative affairs team has been closely involved, but the president himself has been removed - by design, multiple aides say.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, the chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, will also attend the lunch, as will Sens. The other source said Trump used a vulgar phrase to describe the House bill and told the senators, "We need to be more generous".

Senate Republicans are aggressively trying to rein in expectations for their Obamacare repeal effort, wary of blowing a deadline or falling short of 50 votes on a promise that has driven the GOP's political strategy for much of the past decade.

"Conversations with CBO continue", one GOP staffer said in an email, while another aide said there was no new information to share.

In recent weeks, Trump has stressed the need for Republicans to come together to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's sweeping health care law. The meeting, which one Republican aide told CNN was a red-light, green-light, yellow-light situation, is a key moment as Senate leadership attempts to get their conference to coalesce around a baseline health care proposal.

After his lunch, Trump will travel to Milwaukee, where he will meet with so-called Obamacare victims, speak about health care and address a fundraiser for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Trump met earlier this month with families adversely impacted by growing Obamacare premiums in Ohio.

Time is of the essence. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still targeting a vote before the July 4 recess, even if there are only 14 working days left. Some Senate Republicans have said the House bill was unacceptable to them, but more than a few admitted Monday that they're still in the dark about the details of the legislation their own leaders are working on.

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