The GOP on Thursday offered a plan that would gut key elements of the Affordable Care Act and repeal some taxes to satisfy their constituents, but the Senate’s top Democrats vowed to block the measure.
Key points:The GOP bill, which includes repeal of a key tax on medical devices, was approved in the Senate on Wednesday.
The Senate has yet to pass the measure.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)The bill’s repeal of the tax on high-tech medical devices has been one of the most hotly contested parts of the ACA.
The tax, which has helped pay for the health care law’s cost-sharing subsidies and Medicaid expansion, has been among the most contentious parts of health care reform.
In the Senate, Democrats have been able to win support from the White House for the tax but not enough to pass a replacement.
The House bill, by contrast, would repeal the tax.
Democrats have not agreed on the details of the bill, but they have vowed to vote to block a repeal that would end a tax that is widely viewed as the law’s crown jewel.
“This legislation is not going to do the job for the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday.
“This legislation does not go far enough.
The American people have had enough.”
Democrats on Thursday vowed to filibuster any effort to repeal the law, which is still the law of the land.
“Republicans must take their first step towards fulfilling their pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare and do so in a bipartisan fashion, while still addressing the real challenges facing millions of Americans,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
“The American people deserve better.”
The White House also warned against Republicans blocking the measure in a speech to the Senate Thursday.
“If Republicans continue to ignore the facts, if they continue to obstruct efforts to bring forward a repeal and replacement plan, then I am confident they will face a fierce backlash from the American public,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) criticized the Senate Republicans on Thursday, saying he believes the GOP plan will do little to help Americans.
“I think that Republicans are in a situation where they need to pass something that works and they need that to get back on track,” Paul said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“We have a bill that’s already passed, it’s passed by the House, it has bipartisan support.
If they want to keep blocking it, that’s their prerogative, but I think they need some sort of bipartisan agreement to get the job done,” he added.
Paul is one of about two dozen Republican senators who have expressed concerns that a repeal bill that was passed last week by the Senate could be vetoed by the president.
He is one vote away from becoming the first GOP senator to vote against the repeal.
Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) also expressed concerns in their Thursday remarks, telling reporters that they are concerned about the Senate being unable to move ahead with the measure to pass because of the GOP’s refusal to address key details.
“We’ve seen some of the House bill that they passed this week with an asterisk,” Graham said.
“There’s a lot of stuff that I think you need to fix before you can get to the final bill.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R.-Maine) also said on Thursday that she is worried that the bill does not provide enough assistance for those with pre-existing conditions.
“The fact that there’s not a lot in there that’s new to me is really concerning,” Collins said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“There are provisions that are really important.
There are provisions in the bill that would give some of these folks a boost and help them afford their coverage.
And then there are provisions to help folks that would make sure that people with pre, pre-emergent conditions are covered.”
A White House official said on Wednesday that the White Trump administration will continue to fight against efforts to roll back health care reforms and to rollback federal spending, calling the repeal of those measures “a betrayal of the American dream.”
A spokesman for McConnell, however, said he is not concerned about McConnell’s objections to the repeal effort.
“He wants to get it done,” the official said.