Senate Republicans, said to be dispirited over their party’s failure to enact its own version of healthcare reform despite holding the White House and both chambers of Congress, reportedly plan to write their own healthcare legislation over the Memorial Day recess.
Budget committee chairman Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), along with Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), have already begun drafting the Senate’s healthcare bill, Politico reported.
“Over the break, initial legislation will be drafted and then we’ll have more time, actually have a basis to discuss” specific policies,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said yesterday, according to The Hill. “We’ve had the discussions. It’s time to draft a bill, and we’ll move forward on that when we get back.”
But Republican Senators worry that they won’t be able to do much better than the House bill, which would cut healthcare insurance for 23 million Americans but also cut $119 billion from the budget deficit, according to the Congressional budget office. Some are frustrated at the lack of action.
“We talk about it every goddamn day,” a GOP senator who did not want to be quoted criticizing his own party told Politico. “But we haven’t done anything about it.”
Majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) yesterday expressed doubt about his ability to get the 50 votes he needs from the 52 Senate Republicans, prompting more doubts among colleagues, according to the website.
“He doesn’t do much that’s not purposeful. So is he sending a message here of, ‘Don’t anybody think this is likely to happen?’” a 2nd Republican senator told Politico. “If I had to bet my house, I’d bet we don’t get it done.”
“The point is, we should have a better CBO score. But I can’t guarantee it,” Hatch added. “Of course it does. On the other hand, it’s an estimate and it doesn’t mean it’s accurate. That’s something that would worry anybody.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the Upper Chamber “absolutely” has to surpass the CBO’s assessment of the House effort.
“There is no way that I can personally support a bill that is going to result in 23 million Americans losing their health insurance coverage, that will cause an 850% premium increase of a low-income adult aged 64, of which there are many in my state, and that does nothing to ultimately bend the cost curve of health care,” Collins told the website.
Meanwhile, some Democrats are hoping that flaws in the House healthcare bill will make it ineligible for the reconciliation process, giving them a shot at a filibuster, Politico reported.