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Bernie Sanders calls out Senate Republicans for secrecy surrounding health care negotiations

20 June 2017

The Affordable Care Act overhaul bill passed by the House in May, which has helped guide the Senate discussions, would cut federal health care assistance to low- and moderate-income Americans by almost $1 trillion and increase the number of uninsured by 23 million over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The House bill would reduce insurance subsidies for older, lower-income, rural Americans, increasing subsidies for younger and richer people who live in cities where competition among providers makes health care less expensive. But it's a move that would likely alienate the more conservative wing of the GOP, and the Republicans can only afford to lose two votes if they want to pass a healthcare bill through budget reconciliation.

The problem is that the House provision may not meet the test for inclusion in the Senate's health care bill under special rules that let that chamber pass budget-related legislation by simple majority instead of 60 votes.

Democratic groups are ratcheting up pressure on Senate Republicans over their effort to vote on a major health care measure before Congress leaves town for the July 4 recess. These are striking comments from a Republican senator whose party is seeking to push through legislation without the help of Democrats.

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The new health care bill is so secretive even Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is not privy to it - or so he claimed during a hearing when Sen.

"It was the worst piece of legislation, frankly, against working class people that I can remember in my political life in the Congress. Throwing 23 million people off of health insurance is beyond belief", said Sanders. Planned Parenthood backers say they will argue to the Parliamentarian that the budget impact of the language is “merely incidental” to the policy aim and therefore should not be allowed in the Senate bill.

Asked if he would be bringing his photocopier back out, Paul smiled and said, "We'll see".

The Senate passed similar legislation with an additional 1.5-cent flat tax on gas that a House committee stripped from its version.

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The tuition increases will be less than they've been in the past, Folk said.

The lack of public debate appears to be a strategy by McConnell and his lieutenants to minimize opportunities for critical evaluation of their bill. The CBO said that the so-called "Trumpcare" bill, which narrowly passed by U.S. House last month, would also reduce federal deficits by $119 billion between 2017 and 2026.

"If they want to shut the state down, go for it", he said. If Collins and other Republicans stand up now, that's the kind of process that could get underway. The Democratic senator said he is hosting the hearing because GOP leaders have been crafting a bill "in secret with no public input or oversight". Moderate GOP senators have been pushing to ease those efforts.

"He wanted to take one more shot at getting a tax reform proposal together everyone can get on board with", Ferns said.

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