Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cruz and Cornyn Clash on Senate Health Care Bill

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 3:33 PM

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Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz have quickly come out on opposite sides of the Senate's proposed Obamacare replacement bill. Both Republican lawmakers were members of the Senate group (made up of all white men) tasked with drafting the sweeping legislation. But shortly after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the 142-page substitute bill Thursday, it was clear they weren't on the same page.

“Currently... 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," Sen. Cruz said in a joint statement with three other GOP Senators. But it's not because the Tea Party darling wants to return to Obamacare.

"It does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their healthcare costs."

The Senate bill, dubbed the "Better Care Reconciliation Act," offers states the ability to drop many previously-covered health benefits, like maternity care, emergency services and mental health treatment, from their coverage plans. It would pull money from Medicaid coverage for low-income Americans to make up for hefty tax cuts to the country's wealthiest. Sen. Cornyn, however, told a different story on the Senate floor Thursday morning.

"It's been made clear to us that [Democrat Senators] don't want to participate in the process, and you are turning a blind eye to the millions of people who are being hurt today by premiums," Cornyn said. "Your response to them is 'We don't care.'"

He scoffed at Sen. Chuck Schumer's request to start all over and create a bipartisan Senate bill that involves open hearings and public participation — something the closed-door Senate group's process did not.

"If I thought that was a sincere offer, I would take it in a minute," he replied.

Republicans involved in writing the bill didn't allow for the Congressional Budget Office to score their bill's financial impact before announcing it to the public. But the House's version of the health care bill, introduced in May, promises a sharp increase in insurance premiums for the elderly —and that 24 million additional people will be without coverage by 2026.

The Senate is expected to vote on the health care bill before the July 4 recess.


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