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GOP health plan fiasco a long-running drama

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President Trump to deliver statement on health care on Monday

"I think we all agree it's better to both repeal and replace, but we could have a vote on either", McConnell said after the White House meeting.

"Since we are a nation that's founded on compromise, I don't see why we can't compromise on this", said Valcee Cox, a retired high school history teacher in Big Spring, Texas.

Twenty-two million more people would be uninsured over the coming decade under the revised Senate health care bill, the Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday.

The latest version of the Senate bill would increase average insurance premiums by 20 percent next year, the budget office estimate, but it would reduce premiums after 2019, so that in 2026 premiums for a typical "benchmark plan" would be 25 percent lower than under current law. As a result, coverage would quickly become unaffordable for most every American individual health-care market.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) expressed exasperation over the inability to pass even a procedural motion to debate any healthcare bill.

McConnell is also in trouble with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was diagnosed with brain cancer. Another would forbid individuals and small businesses from using the bill's health care tax credits to buy policies that cover abortion. Some Republicans have already admitted that the dozens of votes they took to repeal Obamacare under a Democratic president they knew would veto it were pure messaging votes -"fantasy football" in one lawmaker's words.

"When they talk about repeal and not replacing, that scares me half to death", said Andrea Martin of Taylor, Michigan.

Republicans should tear up their partisan, anti-Obama game plan and instead address the problems with the ACA - uneven insurance coverage in different states, drug prices, access to specialists and others - without political grandstanding.

Medicaid has been around since 1965 as an amendment to the Social Security Act. But instead of being served just chicken or steak, they received a stern presidential lecture on commitment.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell thus has scheduled a vote early next week to repeal Obamacare.

The Affordable Care Act is not "exploding" or "imploding", as President Trump likes to claim.

The Senate's so-called "Byrd Rule" is created to make sure policies passed under "budget reconciliation" - which allows legislation to advance with only 51 votes instead of the usual 60 needed to get past a filibuster - directly affect the federal budget, either by decreasing spending or by increasing revenue. But this time, he upped the cost of health care to $15 a month.

Yet for all the determined rhetoric Wednesday, the basic divisions haven't changed in the Senate, where conservatives like Rand Paul of Kentucky want legislation that fully repeals the Obama law while moderates like Susan Collins of ME want something incompatible with that, a more generous bill that provides for Americans including those who gained Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Trump says "Republicans never discuss how good their healthcare bill is, & it will get even better at lunchtime". Rand Paul, one of four senators who threatened to bring down the Senate bill, compared its continuation of parts of Obamacare to "German national socialism".

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