Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is dead set on keeping the pressure on Senate Republicans to vote on their version of Obamacare repeal before Congress leaves for the July 4 recess.
Senate leadership has set a timeline to vote on its version of health care reform next week, a bill that is anticipated to repeal significant portions of former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
McConnell is pushing for a quick vote, in an effort to force lawmakers to reach a consensus on portions of health care reform that have been divisive in the Senate’s push to repeal and replace Obamacare, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
Conservatives and moderate Republicans in the Senate are currently experiencing the same divides that surfaced in March in the House. Republican senators are at odds over the timeline of rolling back funding for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion program, Obamacare taxes and subsidy payments.
Some conservative senators want Medicaid expansion funding greatly curtailed in 2020, which puts moderate Republican senators in Medicaid expansion states at odds with their constituents.
The Senate bill is largely expected to begin rolling back federal funding to the 31 states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, WSJ reports. Twenty Republican senators are in states that chose to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. If the Senate passes a bill that guts Medicaid even more than the House proposal, those senators could face a lot of heat in the 2020 election cycle.
The bill is will also reportedly include subsidies for people in low-income or high-cost areas of the country.
Democrats in the Senate remain united in opposition to any proposals to repeal Obamacare, as they feel a duty to support Obama’s landmark achievement and view the Republicans repeal effort as an opportunity to gain a leg up in the 2018 election cycle.
If Republicans fail to vote on health care reform before heading back home to their districts, it is likely to leave them open to criticism from constituents who are slated to lose coverage and voters who supported them, in no small part, because they promised to repeal Obamacare. Town hall meetings from earlier in 2017 have already shown Republicans in Congress what could lie ahead.
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