December 11, 2017

Republicans oppose healthcare plans leaving party without majority

ykTwo more Republican senators have said they oppose their party’s replacement for President Obama’s health system, making it impossible for the bill to pass in its current form.
Mike Lee and Jerry Moran say the new legislation does not go far enough in repealing the health legislation.
Republicans have been divided on the issue, with moderates concerned about the effects on the most vulnerable.
President Donald Trump made repealing Obamacare a key campaign pledge.
The plan retained key Obamacare taxes on the wealthy, while allowing insurers to offer less coverage and imposing sharp cuts to healthcare for the poor.
With the two new opponents, Republicans – who hold 52 seats – no longer have enough votes to pass the bill in the 100-member Senate.
The two senators simultaneously announced their opposition to the planned reforms, joining senators Rand Paul and Susan Collins, who were also against the bill.
Mr Moran said “we should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy” while for Mr Lee, “in addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes [the bill] doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”
Why is Obamacare so controversial?
Reacting to what is being seen as a significant setback, Mr Trump urged Republicans to repeal the “failing Obamacare now and work on a new healthcare plan that will start from a clean slate”.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would try to pass a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay implementation that would provide a “stable transition period” to a new legislation.
Correspondents, however, say that this plan has little chance to pass as under the interim period millions would be left without healthcare.
Analysis: The end of repeal-and-replace war?
By Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter
In the end the death blow to the latest iteration of Obamacare repeal came from the right flank.
Mr McConnell was always going to have to walk a fine line in his effort to keep both moderates and hard-core conservatives in party on board with his healthcare reform proposal. After his first draft failed to garner sufficient support, he came out with a new version that moved farther to the right in key areas while throwing money to keep the moderates satiated.
That strategy worked in the House, where Freedom Caucus arch-conservatives and just enough moderates came around to rescue the legislation from death’s doorstep.
This time the entire rickety structure came tumbling down. The Senate may very will try to vote on straight-up repeal, as the president has suggested – one with a two-year fuse – but it face long odds in winning a majority support. If and when that fails, it’s back to the drawing board for Republicans.
This isn’t the end of congressional efforts to pass healthcare legislation. But it’s likely the end of the repeal-and-replace war as it’s been waged for the past six months.
Obamacare v Republican plan compared
Republican Senator John McCain, who is recovering from surgery in his home state of Arizona, called for a bipartisan strategy to discuss the plan.
“The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties,” he said in a statement.
Democrats have said they will not co-operate to repeal Obamacare, but that they can work in a bipartisan way to improve it.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer said on Twitter: “This second failure of Trumpcare is proof positive that the core of this bill is unworkable.”
A similar version of the bill was approved by the House of Representatives in May, but analysts predicted a more turbulent process in the Senate, given the different positions.
Congress has been delaying its summer holiday in a bid to overturn former President Barack Obama’s 2010 legislation.

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