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Democrats Aim to Stymie Senate GOP's Health Care Efforts
20 June 2017, 10:58 | Terri Saunders
Democrats plan to object to routine requests to let the chamber operate in a move aimed at escalating the fight over health care
Without the votes to blockObamacare repeal, Democrats are turning to procedural moves they believe will underscore their most powerful argument: Republicans are hiding their repeal plan from the public and using Senate procedures to keep it a secret.
It will include trying to force votes aimed at drawing attention to the lack of transparency, such as committee hearings, on the GOP legislation. So they are focusing this week on nonbinding protests. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) put it on Facebook, follows efforts by GOP leadership to craft legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) entirely behind closed doors.
My constituents, even though they're represented by Democrats, have no less rights than the citizens of Iowa or the citizens of Texas who are represented by Republicans.
The AHCA also would allow states under certain circumstances to apply for waivers that exempt insurance companies from having to cover numerous essential health benefits that are guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act. Democrats plan to object to all requests for unanimous consent and they plan to make their own consent requests to move the health care negotiations into committee where the conversation can take place publicly.
"Republicans are drafting this bill in secret because they're ashamed of it, plain and simple", said Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, in a statement. Many Republican senators have pushed for a more gradual phaseout in their bill, as well as preserving certain protections for preexisting conditions under the ACA not maintained in the House bill. Last week, the Washington Postreported that President Donald Trumpcalled the House version of the bill "mean", in a closed lunch, despite having a Rose Garden celebration when the bill was passed. They don't just ignore them as the Republicans appear determined to do. But the specifics in their bill have been closely guarded. The problem is its going to take away insurance coverage from people, and that takes us backward.
McConnell said all Republican senators have been involved to some degree in healthcare meetings and that Democrats would have a chance to amend the legislation they produce, once it is brought to the Senate floor.
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