US health chief 'in a receiving mode' on health bill ideas

Meanwhile Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) seemed positive about the ongoing health care talks when he talked to reporters following a conference lunch with Vice President Mike Pence. "We're doing the best we can".

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Republicans have expressed differences on the Medicaid portion of the bill. "It's not everything that I want, but that's life, right?"

Georgetown University congressional expert Josh Huder says what's truly remarkable is the Senate will replicate what the House did: push this bill forward with little transparency.

The Senate is now debating changes to the AHCA needed to get through the divisive politics of the upper chamber, where they can afford to lose the votes of only two of the 52 Republicans, in a scenario where Vice President Mike Pence would break a tie.

The Senate included the raise in part to raise the pay of the state's lowest-paid workers.

As House Republicans crafted a bill, they toyed with delaying repeal dates of some taxes and left the 0.9 percent Medicare surtax as an olive branch for reticent moderates.

Determined to protect former President Barack Obama's landmark heath care law, Democrats are seizing the moment to repeatedly call on Republicans to abandon their repeal efforts - and team up with Democrats on improving the Affordable Care Act instead.

Under that timetable, GOP members would have to send a bill to the CBO soon to meet the end-of-June target.

He did not set a firm deadline for the vote, but Republicans are impatient with the lack of progress and political quicksand the bill is creating and want the Senate to either act quickly on health care or move on to other business.

The proposal, obtained by The Associated Press, would remove dollars the Senate proposed to spend on health services, public colleges, state prisons, state police and the child welfare agency in the 2017-18 budget year. The party's senators will discuss options for the legislation at a weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday, said John Cornyn, the No.2 Republican in the Senate. The House measure is H.R. 1628. Susan Collins of ME, have explicitly said that they would like the GOP to pursue a comprehensive and bipartisan health care bill.

The aide said this is the natural point the chamber was bound to get to. But he added, "I'm seeing more and more clarity, and a narrower and narrower focus, and a smaller and smaller difference in the caucus".

Senate Republicans, then, look intent on talking themselves into a bill that looks a lot like Obamacare but is arguably even worse, one that has few real advantages except that it allows Republicans to claim that they repealed Obamacare. Now, some Republicans are calling for a short-term solution to stabilize the markets.

House Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) spoke out against the bill, which they dubbed the "Wrong Choice Act", in a speech on the House floor Thursday afternoon after Comey's testimony. The Senate proposal still will have to go through a procedure to excise provisions seen as extraneous to budget issues.

Portman has described the proposal as offering a "significant glide path", as if slowing down the withdrawal of federal funds represents a major change to the House bill.

The Senate bill is looking at basing tax credits not just on age, as the AHCA does, but also on factors such as income and locale.

"What a great team this is", Trump said ahead of Tuesday's meeting.

Senator Ron Wyden of OR, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, on Tuesday called the House bill "Robin Hood in reverse" and said it "moves America back to yesteryear, when health care was for the healthy and the wealthy".

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican and vice chairman of the National Governors Association, is urging Congress and the White House to maintain spending and coverage for those who became eligible for Medicaid under the expansion.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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