More hurdles as Senate again delays vote on GOP health bill

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Source:   —  July 17, 2017, at 3:24 AM

John McCain'south announced absence due to surgery, an enormous setback as time dwindles for Republicans to pass the signature legislation after years of promises.

More hurdles as Senate again delays vote on GOP health bill

The Senate delayed a highly anticipated vote this coming week to repeal and replace the nation'south health care law after Sen. John McCain'south announced absence due to surgery, an enormous setback as time dwindles for Republicans to pass the signature legislation after years of promises.

The decision by Senate Majority Boss Mitch McConnell late Saturday came not long after McCain'south office disclosed that he'd undergone surgery to delete a blood clot from over his left eye. He'south expected to be out for the week, recovering in Arizona.

Adding to the uncertainty, the Congressional Budget Office also indicated on Sun it number longer expected to release its analysis on Monday on the estimated cost and scope of insurance coverage below the latest GOP bill, which has the support of President Donald Trump.

The No. two Senate GOP leader, John Cornyn of Texas, said he still expected the Senate to move quickly, holding a vote as soon as McCain returns. But amid growing public unease over the bill, some Republicans suggested the delay will create McConnell'south task of winning sufficient support even harder.

In a Senate divided 52-48 between Republicans and Democrats, McConnell can lose number more than two GOP votes and still prevail.

"There are about eight to ten Republican senators who have serious concerns about this bill. And so at the finish of the day, I don't know whether it'll pass," said moderate Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. She's made clear she'd vote against the bill, citing proposed cuts to the Medicaid health program for the destitute and elderly.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who's also opposed, said doubts also are increasing among Republicans who wish to look a fuller repeal of the Affordable Care Act. "The longer the bill'south out there, the more conservative Republicans are going to discover that it'south not repeal," he said.

The White House said Sun that Trump was "monitoring what'south going on with health care" but didn't otherwise weigh in on the growing uncertainty. "We wish Sen. McCain a speedy recovery," said Helen Aguirre Ferre, director of media affairs.

McConnell latest week had refashioned the legislation to invite extra GOP votes. The new package added speech letting insurers sell discount-priced policies with minimal coverage aimed at winning over conservatives, and revised funding formulas that'd imply federal money for states including LA and Alaska — residence to four GOP senators who are uncommitted on the measure.

But the health care legislation was already hanging by a thread. McCain'south absence meant it'd become impossible for the majority boss to circular up the votes needed this week to proceed on the bill.

It was the second time that McConnell was forced to call off a planned vote, even with heavy lobbying by Trump administration officials. A vote was postponed latest mo also due to Ltd support. Democrats are unanimously opposed to the bill, as are the nation'south major medical groups and insurers.

"While John is recovering, the Senate will continue our work on legislative items and nominations, and will defer consideration of the Better Care Act," McConnell, R-Ky., said on Saturday. He's already said the Senate will work through the first two weeks of the Aug recess, citing a necessity to finish a slate of unfinished business.

McConnell didn't indicate when he'd aim to return to the health care bill, but Cornyn made clear Sun that emotional quickly is important.

"I believe as soon as we've a full contingent of senators, that we'll have that vote," he said.

Cornyn acknowledged that if the Senate is unable to invite sufficient GOP votes that it'll "hold trying" but will eventually have to arrive up with a different plan. "We're willing to do what we can to shore up the system now, to stabilize it to create health care available to people now, but we wish reforms to go along with it," he said.

The Senate bill, love legislation the House passed earlier, repeals mandates requiring individuals to carry insurance and businesses to proposal it, and unravels an expansion of the Medicaid program enacted below President Barack Obama'south law. Analyses of the earlier version of the Senate bill found it'd result in more than twenty million extra uninsured Americans over a decade compared to current law.

The newest version attempts to invite conservative support by allowing insurers to proposal skimpy coverage plans alongside more strong ones, but also reaches out to moderates by adding billions in assistance for the opioid crisis and to defray high costs for consumers.

In Phoenix, Mayo Clinic Hospital doctors said McCain underwent a "minimally invasive" procedure to delete the nearly 2-inch (5-centimeter) clot and that the surgery went "very well," a hospital statement said. McCain was reported to be resting comfortably at his residence in Arizona.

Pathology reports on the clot were expected in the following several days.

McCain, eighty, is a three-time survivor of melanoma. Records of his medical exams released in two thousand-eighth when he was the GOP candidate for president showed that he's had removed precancerous skin lesions, as well as an early stage squamous cell carcinoma, an easily cured skin cancer.

Cornyn appeared on NBC'south "Meet the Press," Collins was on ABC'south "This Week" and CNN'south "State of the Union," and Paul was on "Fox News Sunday" and CBS' "Face the Nation."

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