Senator John Thune (R-SD) speaks as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator John Barrasso (L) listens during a media briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Senate Republicans have begun writing the text of their Obamacare repeal-and-replacement legislation, which is expected to be vastly different from the version the House passed May 4.
While a number of details still need to be worked out, members of the 13-person health care working group selected by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell feel they are in agreement in enough areas to start crafting the bill.
South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune said they don’t have a timeline on when the draft will be completed but hopes part of the legislation will be written by the time they get back from the Memorial Day recess.
“I think the process is, you know, moving forward,” he told reporters Thursday. “You know, we’ve had a lot of discussions, and I think now is the time to get serious about the drafting process.”
Critics of the House version blasted the legislation after the Congressional Budget Office’s updated score of the American Health Care Act projected 23 million more people would go uninsured if the measure was passed in its current form. Thune said they are focused on bringing down the cost of premiums.
“You know a number of people covered is an issue, but it’s not the only issue because we know without the individual mandate there would be a lot of people who choose not to get coverage,” he continued.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi confirmed to Politico the upper chamber still plans to use the reconciliation process to pass the measure, allowing them to get the legislation through the Senate with a simple majority.
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