Political News

Republican senators to get first glimpse of leadership's health care ideas

Posted June 6, 2017 11:51 a.m. EDT

After weeks of discussions about health care in a small working group, Republican senators will get more clues Tuesday on where their leadership is heading as the conference seeks to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Republicans are expected to be presented with a menu of options to overhaul Obamacare. But key questions remain about how the GOP will phase out the Medicaid expansion as well as how they can will structure tax credits to help Americans purchase their health insurance under a Republican health care plan.

Disagreements among Republicans have led a host of lawmakers to declare the legislation is in trouble. Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina declaring over the last several days that they don't even see the Senate Republicans passing a health care bill by the end of the year.

"I just don't think we put it together among ourselves," Graham told reporters Monday night. "I've always believed, let Obamacare collapse, which it will and challenge the Democrats to help us fix it. That's always been my preferred route."

Tuesday's lunch meeting may be the first opportunity conservatives and moderates have to see which direction leadership is moving after wide-ranging disagreements within the working group.

Moderates like Ohio Republican Rob Portman have advocated to phase out Medicaid more gradually than the House's Obamacare repeal bill did while conservatives like Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey have argued that the Senate bill should restructure the growth rate for Medicaid funding so it is less generous than the House bill.

The House plan would calculate funding for Medicaid year to year based off what is known as Consumer Price Index based off the cost of medical care, a measurement that is more generous overtime than the standard Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. Toomey argues that using the cost of medical care would lead to an unsustainable Medicaid program so he advocates for tying Medicaid funding to all urban consumers instead, which grows more slowly.