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Not ‘that far off’ from passing health overhaul

Vermont’s top elected officials say a health care bill unveiled Thursday by Republicans in the U.S. Senate would harm Vermonters and not improve upon a House-passed version.Those waivers would allow state to drop benefits required by Obamacare, such as maternity coverage, mental health care and prescription drug coverage.Although the measure is being billed as a way for Republicans to make good on their promise to repeal Obamacare, the bill also goes a long way to fulfilling a long-held goal by the GOP to slash entitlement spending while cutting taxes on the rich.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insists he wants a vote before the Fourth of July recess, leaving GOP leaders one week to win over more votes.Louisiana’s senators haven’t taken a public position on the Senate proposal.”Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor”, said the statement from Sens.Trump said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer criticized the GOP bill before knowing what was in it.”I have very serious concerns about the bill”, she said on ABC’s “This Week” program.If the Senate approves its repeal version, either the House would have to pass the same bill or reconcile its version with the Senate’s before Trump could sign it into law. “So it’s not what I view as American value, certainly not MI values”.While Senators have been working on the legislation since the AHCA passed the House, Democrats including Menendez have taken issue with the “secretive” nature by which the bill was drafted. “I think that they’ll probably get there, but we’ll have to wait and see”. Paul said, “My hope is not to defeat the bill”.The Senate bill would make major cuts in the federal-state Medicaid program for poor and disabled people.With a third of the Senate coming up for re-election in 2018, many will have to weigh the state-wide implications before voting for the bill.Instead, the bill entices people to voluntarily buy a policy by offering them tax credits based on age and income to help pay premiums.Ahead of the vote, Trump and lawmakers are waiting for an independent assessment from the Congressional Budget Office, possibly as early as Monday, on how many people would lose insurance if the Republican plan is enacted and projections on the cost of insurance in the next few years.The lengthy proposal only came out last week, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to begin voting this week.