GOP health bill: Big tax cuts for rich, not much for others


McConnell's goal was to vote on the measure before the July 4 recess that starts at the end of the week. There are seemingly intractable differences between senators who wanted the bill to cut even more benefits, and those from states where millions benefited from the ACA's use of a Medicaid expansion to help the sickest and poorest.

Democrats in both chambers of Congress are exhibiting their unity as the Republican health care bill vote, which was supposed to happen by Friday in the Senate, was pushed back until after the July 4 recess. The bill needs 51 votes to pass the Senate.

The CBO report says under the bill that 22 million people fewer would have insurance by 2026 than under Obamacare, but the budget deficit would be reduced.

After meeting with Trump, McConnell warned that "the status quo is simply unsustainable" and said Republicans have two options.

With Republicans controlling the 100-seat Senate by 52 to 48, the leadership can not afford to lose more than two Republican defectors, with vice-president Mike Pence casting the deciding vote. "As drafted, the Senate health care bill is not the right fix for West Virginia, and I can not support it".

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Meanwhile, Democrats on the Hill were organizing news conference after news conference, including a large showing of Democratic senators who gathered on the Capitol steps to lambast the already-beleaguered bill.

"We owe it to the people back home to give this every ounce of effort we can", said Sen. Trump has called the House bill "mean" and prodded senators to produce a package with more "heart". "It could be good and it could be bad", Toomey told reporters. Conservative senators say the Senate bill does not do enough to repeal Obamacare.

"We need a little more time to work on it to get it done", the Texas Republican told reporters on Tuesday.

Lee, another second-term Republican, reiterated his longstanding criticism that the Senate bill included "hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for the affluent, bailouts for insurance companies, and subsidies for lower-income Americans". Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski confirmed that the vote had been put off. But moderates like Heller and Susan Collins of ME criticize the bill as overly punitive in throwing people off insurance roles and limiting benefits paid by Medicaid, which has become the nation's biggest health care program, covering nursing home care for seniors as well as care for many poor Americans. Republicans now have a majority in the Senate, as they hold 52 seats. More people will be forced to choose between health care and other necessities.

Moderate senators are concerned about millions of people losing insurance.

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President Donald Trump conceded on Tuesday that the current Republican bid to repeal and replace Obamacare may not succeed.

The office said that overall, the Senate legislation would increase out of pocket costs for deductibles and copayments.

Conservatives said the bill did not do enough to erase Democratic former president Barack Obama's signature domestic legislation.

The CBO also predicted the Senate legislation would increase consumers' out of pocket costs because standard policies would be skimpier than now offered.

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