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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee posted a document Friday that they say reflects the various provisions in the GOP Obamacare replacement bill that the Senate parliamentarian has ruled to be not eligible for reconciliation, the process by which Republicans can avoid a Democratic filibuster.

The Senate parliamentarian’s office did not immediately respond to attempts to confirm the parliamentarian’s rulings on the bill, which were expected Friday.

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Senate Republicans eager to rescue their flailing Obamacare repeal effort — or at least, eager not to be blamed if it fails — are clinging to a vague idea reportedly being pitched by top Trump administration officials that they say will mitigate the replacement bill’s massive cuts to Medicaid.

The idea is being called a “wraparound” by GOP senators, and they say the goal would be to funnel the low-income people who would lose Medicaid coverage into private plans, using a combination of tax credits for private insurance, the legislation’s stabilization fund and existing Medicaid revenue streams.

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Republicans must be feeling beach season, because they all have their flip-flops on.

The prospect that the Senate might vote on a version of 2015 legislation that repealed many parts of Obamacare with a two-year delay to replace it down the road has key Republicans in the health care debate doing a 180 — or even a full 360, in some cases. All but one current GOP senator voted for the repeal-and-delay bill, which was vetoed by then-President Obama, in 2015. Some are saying they won’t vote for it again, while others in favor of going in this direction a few months ago insisted that Republican pass a replacement the Affordable Care Act instead of just repealing it.

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The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that a new draft of the Senate Obamacare replacement legislation would result in 22 million fewer people with health coverage by 2026, compared to current law.

By 2026, 15 million fewer people would be enrolled in Medicaid, 5 million fewer people would have nongroup coverage and two million fewer people would have coverage through their employer when compared to current law, the CBO said.

The score did not reflect any analysis of a proposal being offered by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that would let insurers sell unregulated plans because that amendment was not in the bill text submitted to the CBO its Thursday score. The coverage losses were akin to the ones predicted under the office’s first score of the Senate health care legislation, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

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The score that the Congressional Budget Office is expected to release Thursday of the latest version of the Senate Obamacare replacement legislation will not include analysis of the biggest change to the bill senators may or may not be voting on next week: An amendment by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that the insurance industry already warned would cause “millions of more individuals” to “become uninsured.”

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Forty-eight hours ago, GOP senators, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), appeared ready to leave their embattled health care legislation for dead and instead attempt a likely-doomed vote on clean Obamacare repeal legislation that would put on the record those Republicans who killed their long-held dream of dismantling the Affordable Care Act.

One White House lunch and a late-night huddle later, senators appear willing to at least keep their Obamacare replacement legislation, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, on life support. GOPers emerging from Wednesday night’s meeting, held in Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-WY) office, offered few details of what could bridge the differences in their conference that had sunk the legislation earlier this week.

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Thirty-two million more people people will be uninsured by 2026, compared to current law, if the GOP repeal-and-delay legislation the Senate may vote on next week becomes law, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

The legislation, which was posted shortly before the CBO released its score, tracks closely with a bill that Congress passed and then-President Barack Obama vetoed in early 2016.

The CBO report also said that premiums would double by 2026 under the Senate legislation, which eliminates the Affordable Care Act’s taxes, insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion, but keeps its regulatory regime in place.

The repeal of the subsidies and expansion would go into effect in 2020, while the elimination of individual mandate would take place right away.

The analysis predicted that insurers would flee the exchanges under those conditions:

In CBO and JCT’s estimation, under this legislation, about half of the nation’s population would live in areas having no insurer participating in the nongroup market in 2020 because of downward pressure on enrollment and upward pressure on premiums. That share would continue to increase, extending to about three-quarters of the population by 2026.

The CBO predicted that the Medicaid expansion elimination would reduce Medicaid spending by $842 billion over the next decade, and the government would save $454 billion from getting rid of the subsidies. Those savings would be partially offset by the repeal of the taxes — which costs the government $613 billion in revenue—and the end of mandate, for a net deficit reduction of $473 billion.

The analysis comes as Senate Republicans consider whether to vote on the so-called “clean repeal” bill, after their legislation known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act saw enough defections this week to sink it.

In theory, Republicans say, they will work out a replacement plan in the two years before repeal of the ACA subsidies and Medicaid expansion kicks in. However, CBO’s analysis highlights that even in that ideal scenario, some of the legislation’s ugly effects will kick in pretty quickly.

The CBO predicted that in 2018, 10 percent of the population would be living in areas where no insurers would be participating in the individual market. It also said premiums for what are known as “silver plans” under the ACA would rise by 25 percent in 2018, because fewer people would chose to enroll without the mandate and because the mix of those individuals who would remain would be costlier.

In 2018, 17 million more people would not have health insurance coverage than under current law, 10 million of those losses coming from the nongroup market. While those increases are largely fueled by the end of the mandate, the increase in premiums and the departure of insurers from the marketplace would also play a role in reducing coverage, the CBO said.

Come 2020, 27 million fewer people will have coverage compared to current law, and that number would grow to 32 million by 2026. Of the 32 million, 19 million would be due to Medicaid cuts and 23 million to changes in private insurance.

Leaving Obamacare’s regulatory regime in place while taking away its government assistance is partly to blame for those high numbers. The CBO found if the regulations were also repealed, 23 million fewer people would be insured in 2026 compared to current law, instead of 32 million.

Overall, the CBO painted a picture of major instability if the legislation became law, culminating in three out of every four Americans living in an area with no insurers by 2026.

Read the report below:

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After a meeting at the White House where President Trump urged Republican senators to keep working on their Obamacare repeal effort—which was presumed dead due to resistance from both the conference’s right and centrist wings—the caucus is expected to hold a meeting Wednesday evening where hesitant Republicans can continue to talk through their differences.

Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) suggested it was possible that the Senate’s left-for-dead Obamacare replacement bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, could be revived, Politico reported.

“I’m more optimistic that that would be the case. But if there’s no agreement, then we’ll still vote on the motion to proceed but it’ll be to the 2015 just-repeal bill,” he said, referring to the back-up plan Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered up Monday night after too many Republicans defected from the replacement bill for it to have a hope of passing.

 

 

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The Republican officials that make up the bulk of Trump voter fraud commission did little in terms of toning down the hyped voter fraud rhetoric they’ve employed in the past that had prompted civil rights groups to worry that the commission would be used as a pretext for more suppressive elections policies.

At the commission’s first in-person meeting Wednesday, President Trump himself, in his brief appearance in front of the panel, hyped up the fraud threat by recounting tales of “irregularities” told to him on the campaign trail “having to do with very large numbers of people in certain states.”

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President Trump opened the first in-person meeting of his sketchy voter fraud commission by claiming he’s heard concerns about “very large numbers of people in certain states” involved in “voter inconsistencies,” while also suggesting that states that so far haven’t turned over all the voter information the commission has requested had something to hide.

“If any state does not want to share this information, one has to wonder what they’re worried about,” Trump said at his brief appearance at the meeting, which took place at a government building near the White House. “And I ask the Vice President, I ask the commission, what are they worried about? There is something, there always is.”

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