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GOP Holdouts Make Passage of Health Care Bill Doubtful

10 senators don’t support the bill as written

Republican Senate leaders say they’re hopeful that they can pass a health care bill before they leave for August recess, but the numbers aren’t there yet. The Wall Street Journal reports that 10 GOP senators do not support the legislation currently before them.

For instance, Senator Susan Collins of Maine says that while she appreciates the $45 billion earmarked to fight the opioid epidemic (felt everywhere, but especially in New England), she adds: “That’s helpful, but it’s by no means sufficient.”

GOP Senate leaders had hoped to pass a bill before last week’s July 4 weekend, but the votes just weren’t there. The opponents do not seem to have been swayed, and the bill would need the support of at least 50 of the 52 GOP senators (Vice President Pence would break the tie) since all the Democratic senators said that they plan to vote against.

“Concerned about their diminishing chances of passing a health care bill that is widely unpopular in national polls, Senate Republicans have begun to chastise each other about the consequences of a high-profile legislative failure,” the WSJ reports.

An issue that’s been the subject of discussion in recent days concerns a proposal by Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas that would allow health insurers to sell benefit packages that comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) but will also allow those same companies to sell benefit packages that don’t meet PPACA regulations in the same market.

“Health analysts say that would likely lower premiums for younger, healthier people, who would buy more limited policies, while causing premiums to rise for people with pre-existing conditions, who would buy the more comprehensive plans that comply with the [PP]ACA,” the WSJ reports.

Source: Wall Street Journal; July 10, 2017.

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