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Senate Republicans Making New Health Care Push

  • VOA News

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks at the Lincoln Day Dinner, June 30, 2017, in Elizabethtown, Ky.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to unveil a revised health care bill to Republican colleagues Thursday, as he makes a push to achieve one of the top legislative goals for the party and President Donald Trump.

McConnell last month withdrew an earlier plan after it became clear there was not enough support for it in the Republican-led Senate.

Trump has been vocal this week in pushing Senate Republicans to finish work on a health care bill before leaving for their annual August vacation.

His latest comments came Wednesday in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, with Trump saying he would be “very angry” if a health care bill does not pass.

On Feb. 24, 2016, Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, accompanied by Rev. Pat Robertson, waves as he arrives for an appearance at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
On Feb. 24, 2016, Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, accompanied by Rev. Pat Robertson, waves as he arrives for an appearance at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

McConnell has postponed the scheduled recess by two weeks in order to give lawmakers more time.

An assessment of the previous Senate bill by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said the number of uninsured Americans would rise by 22 million during the next decade when compared to the current system.

Without details of the new plan, it is unclear how different it will be, but McConnell faces a similar challenge in keeping the support of his fellow Republicans. The party has a 52-48 majority in the Senate, and with no Democrats voicing support for the effort to revamp the health care system they passed under President Barack Obama, only a few Republicans can oppose the measure and still have it succeed.

The main Republican criticisms of the existing Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, are that it is too costly and unfairly requires people to purchase health insurance or else face a penalty.

Sen. Ted Cruz has proposed allowing health insurance companies that are currently required to cover certain services in their plans to be allowed to offer much more basic options that would be less costly for healthier people who need less care. But opponents of that initiative say that will only serve to allow coverage for people with more medical problems to become unaffordable.

Some senators want to eliminate as much as possible of Obama’s signature law, while others are looking to preserve popular parts of it, including insurance funding for poorer Americans.

The House of Representatives narrowly approved repeal of the legislation in May. Trump initially cheered the passage of that bill at a White House rally, but since has called it “mean” and lobbied the Senate to approve an overhaul with “heart.”

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