McConnell says GOP must shore up ACA insurance markets if Senate bill dies- By Juliet Eilperin and Amy Goldstein July 6 at 8:44 PM


The Republicans’ time-crunched effort to pass a health-care bill is hitting a lot of resistance in the Senate. The Post’s Paige Cunningham explains five key reasons the party is struggling to move their plan forward. (Video: Jenny Starrs/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that if his party fails to muster 50 votes for its plan to rewrite the Affordable Care Act, it will have no choice but to draft a more modest bill with Democrats to support the law’s existing insurance markets.

The remarks, made at a Rotary Club lunch in Glasgow, Ky., represent a significant shift for the veteran legislator. While he had raised the idea last week that Republicans may have to turn to Democrats if they cannot pass their own bill, his words mark the first time he has explicitly raised the prospect of shoring up the ACA.

“If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private health insurance market must occur,” McConnell said. “No action is not an alternative. We’ve got the insurance markets imploding all over the country, including in this state.”

McConnell, who pledged in 2014 to eradicate the law also known as Obamacare “root and branch,” initially raised the prospect of having to work with Democrats last week after he pulled a measure he had crafted behind closed doors. That bill would jettison the ACA’s requirement that most individuals prove they have health coverage, would repeal or delay billions in taxes imposed under the current law and would make deep, long-term cuts to the nation’s Medicaid program.

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Why is the GOP so terrible at health care? So many reasons — but largely because they don’t understand political reality – MATTHEW SHEFFIELD


John Boehner saw all this coming — and despite this week’s debacle, Republicans will likely push on toward disaster

On Tuesday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell formally decided to call off a health care vote that he and other senior Republicans had been pushing toward for weeks.

Straddling a mere two-seat majority in the chamber, McConnell had to beat a hasty retreat after a number of his members indicated that they would not support the Senate’s version of the Obamacare repeal bill, officially called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The cancellation paralleled an earlier move in March by the House GOP leader Paul Ryan to scuttle a vote doomed to fail.

One person who saw all this coming was former House Speaker John Boehner. Out of Congress since the end of 2015 following a conservative attack on his leadership, Boehner told a high-dollar health care industry conference in February of this year that there was no way that Republicans were going to be able to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.

“In the 25 years that I served in the United States Congress, Republicans never, ever, one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like. Not once,” Boehner told attendees, according to a report by Politico’s Darius Tahir.

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GOP Losing Votes on Health Bill, Imperiling Its Chances – By Kristina Peterson and Stephanie Armour WSJ Updated May 2, 2017 3:14 p.m. ET


WASHINGTON—House Republican leaders are on the brink of losing too many GOP votes to pass their health-care bill overturning much of the Affordable Care Act, potentially dashing hopes raised by the White House of a big legislative win this week.

At least 21 House Republicans have now said they oppose the latest version of the Republican plan to overhaul the health-care system, with an almost equal number publicly undecided on the bill. House GOP leaders can likely lose only 22 GOP votes to pass the bill, because it isn’t expected to receive any Democratic support.

House GOP leaders—often prodded publicly by the White House—have tried to reach enough support to call a vote on the health bill twice before, and a third disappointment could sink their efforts for the foreseeable future. That would mark a significant setback for a Republican Party that now fully controls Congress and the White House and has made undoing the ACA a top promise for the past six years.

Source: GOP Losing Votes on Health Bill, Imperiling Its Chances – WSJ

POTUS, GOP Race to Avoid Government Shutdown as They Juggle Health-Care Revamp – WSJ By Louise Radnofsky, Siobhan Hughes and Kristina Peterson Updated April 20, 2017 11:04 p.m. ET


The president and his allies in Congress are rushing to sort through two sensitive issues—how to avoid a government shutdown next week while reviving a failed overhaul of the Affordable Care Act—as Mr. Trump nears the end of his first 100 days in office.

WASHINGTON—The White House has thrust a new set of proposals into talks to avoid shutdown of the government next week, while also seeking to revive a health-care overhaul that had collapsed last month.

With less than a week to pass legislation funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year, negotiations are beginning to take shape. Democrats are demanding that the legislation include money for insurance companies, without which fragile insurance markets could implode, while the White House in return wants additional money for defense, the border wall and border enforcement.

Failure to extend the funding would trigger a partial government shutdown on April 29, the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Republican leaders will need Democratic votes in the Senate, and likely in the House, to pass a spending bill, giving the minority party unusual leverage in negotiations. Discussions now hinge on Democratic demands that the government continue payments that help support Affordable Care Act insurance plans. The money, known as “cost-sharing” payments, helps insurers lower costs for low-income consumers.

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Source: Trump, GOP Race to Avoid Government Shutdown as They Juggle Health-Care Revamp – WSJ

4 takeaways from the town halls dogging the GOP – Rachael Bade 04/16/17 07:06 AM EDT


Liberal constituents aren’t letting up on Republicans even after their Obamacare repeal bill stalled.

Republicans eager to flee Capitol Hill after squandering weeks on failed negotiations to repeal Obamacare are finding little refuge at home, where furious throngs of liberal constituents await. Halfway through the two-week Easter break, it’s clear that the energy on the left to protect Barack Obama’s health care law — and oppose President Donald Trump — is still soaring.

But for the first time, pro-Obamacare constituents have a specific target: the American Health Care Act. GOP lawmakers now face town halls after debuting a real piece of legislation to gut Obamacare, which added to the urgency and anger of the protests that greeted Republicans as they scattered across the country.

POLITICO reporters traveled to nearly a dozen town halls to document the tumultuous homecoming Republicans faced. Here are four takeaways from Congress’ first week on the road, with reporting from Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Oregon, New Jersey, New York and Texas.

1) Republican AHCA critics sharpened their skepticism of the bill

As Republican leaders eye an attempt to salvage their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, they now are likely to have even more difficulty winning over wayward members.

Republicans who opposed the bill, which was abruptly pulled from the floor last month, soaked up some support from their left-leaning constituents. They also vowed to protect Obamacare provisions that cover people with preexisting conditions.

After GOP Health Bill’s Demise, More States Weigh Expanding Medicaid – By  Stephanie Armour Updated March 28, 2017 7:33 p.m. ET


Virginia, Maine and North Carolina are among the states taking steps toward growing their programs

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy at a press conference on Tuesday. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

A growing number of states are considering expanding their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, after last week’s abrupt collapse of the GOP health bill and a development that could make it harder for Republicans to undo the law in the future.

Notably, the GOP-led Kansas legislature voted Tuesday to expand Medicaid over the protests of the state’s Republican governor. In addition, states including Virginia, Maine and North Carolina are taking steps toward growing their Medicaid programs now that the ACA seems unlikely to go away and federal money for such an expansion appears more secure.

At the same time, House Republican leaders, who were forced to withdraw a repeal-and-replace bill on Friday due to insufficient support from their own members, suggested Tuesday they were renewing their efforts. But there was little indication GOP divisions over the bill were healing, and Senate and White House officials said they saw no immediate path forward.

Given the prospect that, as House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said Friday, “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future,” some state officials are taking another look at expanding Medicaid, including those who had demurred because they expected President Donald Trump and a GOP-led Congress to repeal the ACA.

“The thing that held states back was that they were going to end Medicaid expansion,” said Adam Searing, a research professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. “Now when you have the House speaker saying this is going to stay, it’s like, ‘We may get the money, why not explore it?’ ”

Expanding Medicaid, a federal-state health program for the poor and disabled, is a pillar of the ACA, allowing low-income adults who hadn’t previously qualified for Medicaid to become eligible. Washington provides additional funding to states that adopted the expansion, and the rolls of Medicaid and a related program have grown by around 16 million since the expansion went into effect in 2014.

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