Senate Democrats weigh blockade to protest GOP health care plan

Bill Clark  CQ Roll Call via AP Images

Participants hold signs during the Senate Democrats rally against Medicaid cuts in front of the U.S. Capitol

Bill Clark CQ Roll Call via AP Images Participants hold signs during the Senate Democrats rally against Medicaid cuts in front of the U.S. Capitol

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has invoked "Rule XIV, a fast-track procedure that bypasses the committee process and moves the bill directly to the floor", writes Andy Slavitt, a former acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in a Washington Post op-ed. "There's a group of guys in a backroom somewhere making these decisions". "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it ..." Loosening preexisting conditions and Medicaid coverage is just too drastic to get something through the much more moderate Senate, where Republicans can only afford to lose two Republican votes. And, as we see from The Hill on Monday, it's actually getting worse.

He has invoked Rule 14, which allows him to schedule a vote on the Republican health care plan (AHCA) with no input from the public, no Democratic input, no committee discussion, and allowing for no amendments.

While none of these measures can hold up the bill indefinitely, the Democratic protests will slow down the Senate business and likely bring more attention to the issue.

"All we need are three Republicans to drop off and we can kill it", said Levin, whose organization was created to defeat Trump's agenda and works through a network of over 5,800 local grassroots groups.

"Are they going to get all 52 Senate Republicans to do this?"

This week, a group of more than 15 patients groups_including the American Heart Association, the March of Dimes, the American Lung Association and the American Diabetes Association_asked McConnell's office to meet with them next week, proposing any time between Friday and June 22.

Who knows which way the Senate scheduling winds will blow? "This is such a closed process".

The concerns about the health care legislation extend to the broader public as well, polls suggest. This bill taints everyone who touches it.

Cleverly, Senate Republicans say their coverage-destruction bill will be better than the one Speaker Paul Ryan pushed through the House.

Senior party figures, who were reported to be planning to focus on Donald Trump's reported description of the House bill as "mean", also launched a campaign urging Americans to speak out against the healthcare plan and share their stories about how the ACA, known as Obamacare, has helped them. Those conversations between senators and the CBO - common for lawmakers working on major, complex pieces of legislation - sometimes prompt members to press through and other times to change course.

The "health care" act originally approved by President Trump that passed the House and is now being debated in the Senate would reduce spending on Medicaid by over $800 billion, the largest spending reduction in a social insurance program in USA history. He said, on Sunday, that the bill which is almost finished will include "much lower deductibles" and "lower numbers" but refused revealing any specific details, saying that he plans to chase pharmaceutical companies insisting them to negotiate with the government directly on Medicaid and Medicare health plans at lower costs.

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