Sen. Sasse pushes new option for health care agenda

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Amid delays in bringing a Republican health-care bill to the Senate floor, a White House official said Sunday that the administration considers separating the repeal and replace components of abolishing Obamacare as an "option".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks about the election of Donald Trump in the USA presidential election in Washington, Nov. 9, 2016.

President Trump is pressuring Republican senators to back a bill to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's signature health care law but is holding open a repeal-option if Republicans can not reach an agreement over the July 4 recess, a White House aide said Sunday. Texas' Sen. Ted Cruz is pushing a conservative version that aims to aggressively reduce costs by giving states greater flexibility to create separate higher-risk pools.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said negotiations over the Senate bill were focusing on ways to address the issue of Medicaid coverage so that "nobody falls through the cracks", combating the opioid crisis, as well as giving families more choice in selecting their insurance plan.

Likely changes that could be worked on over the recess include increasing the tax credits in the bill to provide more assistance to low-income and older people in affording coverage.

"On July 10, if we don't have agreement on a combined repeal and replace plan, we should immediately vote again on H.R. 3762, the December 2015 ObamaCare repeal legislation that the Congress passed but President Obama vetoed", Sasse wrote in the letter.

"No, we don't think so", Price told host Chuck Todd. We're at an impasse.

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"The bill is just being lit up like a Christmas tree full of billion-dollar ornaments, and it's not repeal", Paul said, referencing the wheeling and dealing going on behind closed doors to moderate senators such as a $45 billion check to fight heroin abuse and maintaining some of Obamacare's taxes on the wealthy.

And Lee said that at this point, it would be easier to get repealing the law out of the way and then pass a replacement on a "step by step" basis.

Paul said Senate Republicans can do a repeal-only bill concurrently with a bill "they can call 'replace'". If we can't, though, then there's no reason to walk away.

"I feel that repeal and replace have to be together, for very simply, I think that the Democrats should want to fix Obamacare", Trump said in a January 10 interview with the New York Times.

The current Republican plan in Congress is to do both a repeal and a replacement of the law in one massive piece of legislation, though the Senate's bill has struggled to gain the necessary GOP support.

A group of Republican senators are requesting August recess be canceled or shortened to give the party more time to make progress on its legislative agenda.

We should do repeal with a delay -- let's be clear, I don't want to see anybody thrown off the coverage they have now.

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