The Latest: Dems say 3 states get a boost in GOP health bill
Jul. 15, 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the health care bill in the Senate (all times local):
Democrats are pointing to changes in the latest Senate GOP health care bill that appear to help three states represented mostly by Republicans.
The new legislation changes how much money states that expanded their Medicaid programs for the poor last year would get. Democrats say Louisiana, Alaska and Montana would gain from the changes.
Those states are home to five Republican senators and one Democrat.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to secure Republican backing for the measure. He needs to nail down 50 of the 52 GOP senators' votes so he can push the measure through his chamber next week
Louisiana GOP Sen. John Kennedy says the "unfair treatment" under McConnell's original bill would have cost the state $2 billion. His GOP colleague, Sen. Bill Cassidy, says the change resolves a "Louisiana specific issue."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's latest health care bill has something for Louisiana and its two Republican senators — money.
The Kentucky Republican's new legislation changes how much money states that expanded their Medicaid programs for the poor last year would get. McConnell is trying to nail down 50 of the 52 GOP senators' votes so he can push the measure through his chamber next week.
Louisiana GOP Sen. John Kennedy said the "unfair treatment" under McConnell's original bill would have cost the state $2 billion. His GOP colleague, Sen. Bill Cassidy, said the change resolves a "Louisiana specific issue."
Democrats said the changes seemed aimed at helping Louisiana. They said the revisions would also help Alaska and Montana — home to three GOP senators and one Democrat.
The nation's largest doctors' group says the new Republican health care bill falls short on coverage and access, particularly for low-income people on Medicaid.
The American Medical Association says in a statement that the Senate bill "does not address the key concerns of physicians and patients."
The group says Medicaid cuts and what it calls "inadequate subsidies" will lead to "millions of Americans losing health insurance coverage."
The AMA says GOP leaders took a "positive step" by adding $45 billion for treatment to help victims of the opioid epidemic. But the AMA says people dealing with addiction also need regular health insurance, and many would lose it if Republicans succeed in rolling back Medicaid financing.
The group is calling for bipartisan cooperation, starting with action to shore up shaky insurance markets
President Donald Trump is urging fellow Republicans to approve a health care plan in the Senate.
It "must happen," he says in a tweet while in Paris.
He says Republican senators are working hard to "get their failed ObamaCare replacement approved" and says he'll "be at my desk, pen in hand!"
The president says it's important for Republicans under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass the legislation and "come through as they have promised." He's crediting Vice President Mike Pence for working to get GOP senators "to do what is right for the people."
Trump's pressure comes as McConnell's revised plan faces opposition from some in his own party.
Republican leaders have revised their health care bill in an increasingly desperate effort to deliver on seven years of promises to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's health law.
They immediately lost two key votes, leaving none to spare as the party's own divisions put its top campaign pledge in serious jeopardy.
President Donald Trump has said that failure would make him "very angry" and that he'd blame Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The reworked bill McConnell presented to fellow Republicans on Thursday aims to win conservatives' support by letting insurers sell low-cost, skimpy policies.
He's seeking to placate hesitant moderates by adding billions to combat opioid abuse and help consumers with skyrocketing insurance costs.
But it's not clear whether McConnell has achieved the delicate balance he needs.