Health

McConnell Unsure If Senate Can Pass Health Care Bill

| by Jordan Smith

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not think it will be an easy task to pass a health care reform bill in the Senate.

The Republican stated in an interview with Reuters that Republicans would have to compromise to ensure their slim 52 to 48 majority holds.

Health care reform is now up to the Senate after the House adopted the American Health Care Act on May 4.

"I don't know how we get to 50 [votes] at the moment. But that's the goal. And exactly what the composition of that [bill] is I'm not going to speculate about because it serves no purpose," McConnell told Reuters.

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McConnell has previously stated that he wants to reform Obamacare "root and branch."

A working group of Republican senators is currently engaged in coming up with a legislation proposal. The group includes some of the most conservative and moderate Republicans, with the leadership hoping that if they can reach a compromise, the compromise can survive a full Senate vote.

"It's gonna come down to: We're gonna have to do the job," Sen. Orrin Hatch told Vox.

Some Senate Republicans have described the House bill as being dead on arrival and plan to draft an entirely new piece of legislation. If this takes place, both chambers of Congress would have to agree on a compromise bill after the Senate has voted in favor of its proposal.

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"There are many ideas being discussed and rather than battle them out in the press ... the conversations we're having are productive. We're seeing senators across the ideological spectrum working to try to get to yes," Sen. Ted Cruz said. "That's exactly the inclusive process that we have to employ if we're going to get to a bill that commands the support of 50 senators."

Tax reform, another major Republican priority, has better prospects of moving forward, according to McConnell. The chances for legislation on this were "pretty good," he said, adding that tax reform was "not in my view as challenging as health care," according to Reuters.

Answering a question about help from the White House, McConnell went on to explain that he was not yet sure what role it would play.

"Honestly I haven't asked for any. I told the president there would be a point at which we might well want him and the vice president to be helpful," he said.

The Congressional Budget Office released an estimate May 24 projecting that the reform passed by the House would leave 23 million more people uninsured than under Obamacare.

"What a disgrace," Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted in response, according to The Hill.

The CBO projection also suggested that the budget deficit would be reduced by $119 billion over the next decade under the reform.

Sources: Reuters, The Hill, Vox / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

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