Senate Republicans Offer New Health Bill

Senate Republicans are rapidly trying to push their new effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas is pursued by members of the media while walking the hallways on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday, July 13, 2017. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. plans to roll out the GOP’s revised health care bill, pushing toward a showdown vote next week with opposition within the Republican ranks.

The Latest on the Republican push on health care (all times local):

11:55 p.m.

Senate Republicans are adding billions of dollars to their teetering health care bill, hoping to win support from GOP senators who may be opposing the legislation.

According to documents obtained by The Associated Press, a new version of the measure would add $14.5 billion for states.

Part of that money is aimed at sparsely populated states. Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins on Sunday all but closed the door on supporting the bill, while Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is undecided.

A table says Arizona would get 14 percent more money than under President Barack Obama’s law, Kentucky 4 percent more and Texas 49 percent more.

Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Texas’ Ted Cruz have all expressed opposition to the bill.

Democrats say the numbers are misleading.


12:35 p.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz says he’s against the Republican bill that would erase much of President Barack Obama’s health law.

If the Texas Republican sticks to that stand, GOP leaders will have little hope that their 11th-hour Senate push will survive.

Cruz spokesman Phil Novack says the senator said Sunday in Austin, Texas, that “right now, they don’t have my vote.”

The bill would lose if three GOP senators vote “no” in a showdown this week.

Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Kentucky’s Rand Paul say they oppose the bill. GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said Sunday it’s “very difficult” to think she’d vote “yes.”

Cruz says he doesn’t think Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee supports the measure. A Lee aide did not immediately answer a request for comment.


11:10 a.m.

A White House adviser insists the Republican health care bill would protect people with pre-existing conditions.

That’s despite the fact the bill would loosen the rules under the Obama health law — by giving states waivers that would let insurers charge more, or tailor benefits to discourage people with costly conditions from signing up.

White House legislative director Marc Short says Republicans plan a Senate vote, probably Wednesday, on the latest and last-ditch effort to undo the Affordable Care Act.

Short was interviewed on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and said — four separate times — the bill protects people with pre-existing conditions.


10:25 a.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina still thinks there’s a path forward for a last-ditch effort to end “Obamacare,” even after his friend, Sen. John McCain, said he opposes the bill.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Graham says Republicans are “moving forward” with a bill he co-sponsored with Illinois Sen. Bill Cassidy to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate and can only afford to lose two votes.

Graham mentioned Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul has said he’s a “no” and Collins said on CNN Sunday she finds it “very difficult” to see herself backing the bill.


10:15 a.m.

The White House legislative director insists the latest bill to repeal former President Barack Obama’s health care law is “not dead.”

Marc Short acknowledges the last-ditch GOP bill remains short of the needed votes. But Short says the White House is continuing its effort to win over “the last couple senators to get there.”

He tells “Fox News Sunday” there might be small bill revisions to “refine the formula” deciding how much money goes to each of the 50 states. The bill would establish block grants to states.

Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate and can only lose two votes.

Republican Sens. Rand Paul and John McCain have said they would vote no. Sen. Susan Collins on Sunday said she found it “very difficult” to envision backing the bill.


10 a.m.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says he’s unlikely to change his mind on the Republican health care bill in Congress.

The president’s hoping Paul and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski will swing behind the latest bill to undo “Obamacare” to save the bill in the Senate.

Paul says on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the bill wouldn’t actually repeal the Affordable Care Act. That’s because it would replace major parts of the law with block grants for states to design their own programs.

Paul says the bill would keep most “Obamacare” spending and reshuffle the money into block grants that would set up “a perpetual food fight” among states over the formula.

He suggests he might be open to the bill if it just repeals the Obama health care law with a bill that doesn’t create block grants.


9:26 a.m.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins says she finds it “very difficult” to envision backing the last-chance GOP bill that would repeal the Obama health care law.

Her likely opposition leaves the Republican drive to fulfill one of the party’s chief campaign promises dangling by a thread.

The Maine moderate’s comments on CNN’s “State of the Union” leave her all but certain to join two GOP senators who’ve declared their opposition — Arizona’s John McCain and Kentucky’s Rand Paul.

Unless the White House and party leaders can persuade at least one of the three to come around, three GOP “no” votes will be enough to kill the legislation because all Senate Democrats oppose it.

The measure would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act and shift money and power to the states.

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