Senate Republicans are weighing a two-step process to replace Obamacare that would postpone a repeal until 2020, as they seek to draft a more modest version than a House plan that nonpartisan analysts said would undermine some insurance markets.
Republicans -- in the early stages of private talks on the Senate plan -- say they may first take action to stabilize premium costs in Obamacare’s insurance-purchasing exchanges in 2018 and 2019. Major insurers have said they will leave the individual market in vast regions of states including North Dakota, Iowa and Missouri.
A Senate plan is likely to continue subsidies that help low-income Americans with co-pays and deductibles, said third-ranking Republican John Thune of South Dakota. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Thursday the administration hasn’t committed to paying subsidies due in June -- which would create additional uncertainty for insurers as they set rates for next year.
“There clearly has to be a short-term solution that works with the transition until some of our long-term policy changes can take effect,” Thune told reporters. “There’s got to be certainty in the marketplace.”
The private Senate GOP negotiations include a 13-member leadership-controlled working group as well as almost daily closed-door discussions among all Senate Republicans. In addition, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine has convened bipartisan talks with about a dozen senators.
How far this plan will get, I couldn't tell you. If the Senate goes this route they can't use budget reconciliation, which means they'd have to get Democratic votes to pass it. Whether the House GOP will go along with anything that the Senate Democrats had a hand in is again anyone's guess.
Stiil, as we've seen, the devil is in those details (and the CBO score). We know the House plan as is will wreck health care for millions of families, and the plan is more unpopular than Obamacare ever was, even in the dark days of 2010.
And we all know what happened to the Dems in 2010 when they passed health care legislation.