Sen. Graham on Healthcare Bill: 'We're Stuck'

Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns left and House Finance Chair Eric Nelson left during the conference committee's first meeting Wednesday

The Republicans had been opposed to changes in pricing of pharmaceuticals, so when Trump won (and more importantly when Republicans maintained control of both the House and the Senate), the likelihood of onerous drug-pricing legislation significantly dropped.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), a member of the leadership team, said the discussions were getting "progressively granular", while Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused the elaborate on the "component parts" of the proposals being looked at.

But some Democratic Senate aides don't buy it.

Establishment Republicans remain unsure whether the Senate can repeal Obamacare by the end of the summer.

A health care bill was supposed to get through the House and the Senate by mid-March. But even if a bill gets a majority of the votes in the Senate, there are still big questions about how and if the Senate and House could agree on a final version.

"The moderates are very happy", an aide to Sen.

Right now, Republicans face several obstacles. But senators are still undecided about a number of key issues.

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The Senate is now more moderate than the House and will likely pass its own version of the bill.

Cassidy said the protections for people with pre-existing conditions were a big factor for him, as well as the slower rollback of the Medicaid expansion, which has helped states like his insure more people nearly entirely on the federal government's dime.

The House healthcare bill could result in 23 million people losing insurance, the Congressional Budget Office estimated, although Republicans have challenged that conclusion.

"The American people have been saddled with a bill for Washington's inability to get this disaster taken care of", he said.

While Republican Senate leaders tried to publicly project optimism, they repeatedly ducked when pressed about a possible timeline and refused to discuss any specifics of the bill they're drafting behind closed doors. Senate Republicans have rejected that bill, but have struggled to come up with their own alternative that can win a majority vote in the upper chamber.

"While we do have a press assistant opening in the Communications Department, Senator Graham has not applied and should not make public statements on behalf of Senator Rand Paul".

To recap what's been going on in the United States this year, in March, the US House of Representatives (House) bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare) essentially stalled.

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Senator Mitch McConnell recently said, "I don't know how we get to 50 votes at the moment". That's a dealbreaker for many senators from states that have benefited from expansion. "They don't have the capacity even without the Russian Federation investigation".

A second scenario might be to insert language into the bill that obfuscates its true legislative impact.

But even as they insist that they're willing to work with Republicans if they abandon their repeal efforts, Senate Democrats also say that they can't underestimate the political will among Republicans to continue pushing for Obamacare repeal. Binder explains: "The goal would be to insulate themselves from criticism that they are throwing people off Medicaid".

House GOP leaders say they want to give the state a cushion against their expectations the forecast is too optimistic. The biggest issues they are trying to sort out: how Medicaid should be structured and funded, whether to allow states to avoid certain Obamacare regulations and how to craft tax credits to replace existing insurance subsides.

And so, the CBO could do serious damage to any such GOP tactic by releasing a score of the Senate bill (when it is done) that shines a harsh light on what the bill would actually do.

According to Chafetz, Republicans in Congress are keeping Trump in check.

The bottom line is that whatever tactics Republicans use, if they can get something passed in the Senate, and get Senate and House Republicans into some form of negotiations created to reconcile the two versions, the prospects of final success go up substantially. Trump's apparent disengagement from the legislative process was evident this past week when he demanded on Twitter that the Senate "should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy".

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