The Senate is aiming to pass a healthcare reform bill in the coming month, although they’ve yet to formulate a working plan for replacement.
Rejecting the hastily voted-upon repeal of Obamacare assembled by the House and narrowly passed just months ago, the Senate is hoping to create a feasible alternative.
For nearly seven years, Conservative legislators have promised a repeal of Obamacare, often derided as a burdensome, socialist program.
However, even after Donald Trump was elected into the presidency, Republican politicians faced roadblocks and obstacles. In the House, members of the Freedom Caucus as well as a centrist faction opposed an initial proposal.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that upward of 20 million Americans could lose healthcare coverage within the next decade if the bill were passed.
Culminating in a no-vote, the House quickly reworked their initial proposal to appease both members of the Freedom Caucus as well as concerned centrists.
The House bill was passed without time for the Congressional Budget Office to issue another estimate over the possible economic consequences and fallout.
GOP leaders in the Senate have decided it’s time to move on and go ahead with reform, even with a shadow still looming over the House’s controversial bill.
“We’ve been talking about this for seven years, so now is the time to start coming up with some tangible alternatives and building consensus,” said Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas.
Sen. John Thune (R-ND) said he hoped the Senate would be able to vote on a repeal-and-replace bill in the coming month, figuring the latest they’d hold off would be before Congress’ annual August recess.
“The sooner we can do that the better and obviously it gives us time to work through whatever differences there are between our bill and the House bill,” Thune said.
Although the Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate, passing a full repeal and reform of Obamacare might be difficult.
Some Conservative legislators are concerned over proposals to slash Medicaid funds. Donald Trump and other Republican leaders have also suggested provisions which would knock out financial aid for Planned Parenthood centers which offer ‘abortion services.’
According to The New York Times, the expectation is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will schedule a vote on a healthcare bill regardless of the possible outcome – prompting Congress to move fast and move on to other issues even in the case of failure.