Washington, Sep 21 (IANS) The US Senate is slated to vote on a new Obamacare repeal bill next week in an attempt to take advantage of a legislative exemption that expires on September 30 whereby the legislation could be approved with only a simple majority.
“It is the (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s) intention to consider (the) Graham-Cassidy (bill) on the floor next week,” the leader’s spokesman David Popp told an interview on Wednesday, alluding to the bill sponsored by conservative lawmakers to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) implemented by former President Barack Obama.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsay Graham, would eliminate key portions of Obamacare, including the system whereby citizens are fined if they do not obtain health insurance and government subsidies are provided to insurers to expand Medicaid.
After their failure to overturn the ACA earlier this year, when President Donald Trump insisted that Republican lawmakers approve some kind of reversal of the health care reform so that he could at least tacitly fulfil his campaign promise to trash Obamacare, Graham and Cassidy’s bill has reopened debate on the matter.
The initiative was gaining support given that conservatives realise that September 30 was their deadline for replacing Obamacare with a mere simple majority of 51 votes, potentially including Vice President Mike Pence as a tie-breaking vote, although it is not yet clear whether the Republicans has enough votes to pass it.
If three Republican senators vote against the bill, the dominant party in Congress would not be able to achieve the simple majority.
Trump expressed his opinion about the bill in a pair of Twitter posts on Wednesday, saying “I hope Republican Senators will vote for Graham-Cassidy and fulfil their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare…”
Trump also said that he thought the bill had a good chance of passing, given that the Republicans are deeply embarrassed that they have been unable to replace Obama’s signature 2010 legislation.
He said he was confident that Republican lawmakers would wind up supporting the new bill to adjust the “catastrophic situation” created, in his opinion, by Obamacare.
However, Democrats have warned about the consequences of the new bill and have called upon the Congressional Budget Office to evaluate its potential impact.
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