Senate Presses Ahead on Healthcare Talks as Deadline Looms
With only 10 legislative days before Senate Republicans’ self-imposed deadline, GOP lawmakers face growing obstacles in their quest to vote on replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) before the beginning of their scheduled Fourth of July recess.
Still, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants a vote by June 30, in part to clear the chamber’s calendar for other pressing issues this summer, including a fiscal 2018 budget blueprint, legislation to fund the government, and reauthorizing FDA user fees and the children’s health insurance program (CHIP).
Some conservative senators are voicing concern that Sen. McConnell may not be doing enough to curb Medicaid spending in the 31 expansion states. They point to the possibility that the ACA’s Medicaid expansion might last beyond the 2020 cutoff in the House bill as a sign moderate lawmakers are gaining the upper hand as McConnell tries to cobble together 50 votes for an overall package.
But moderate senators worry, too, that conservatives may pick up support for lowering the amount that Washington contributes to state Medicaid programs.
Not content to sit on the sidelines, Democrats are increasingly criticizing Republicans for crafting their bill behind closed doors with no public hearings or input from committees with jurisdiction over healthcare policy (even some rank-and-file GOP senators are voicing the same concern). Democrats this week may try to gum up the Senate with procedural objections in an effort draw attention to their concerns. Continue Reading