Category Archives: Healthcare

Any thing to do with Healthcare

Trump would be ok with no Obamacare Repeal provision in Senate tax bill?

Republicans get the floor pulled out from them AGAIN on efforts to make changes in the Affirdable healthcare law also known as Obamacare….

Conservative want something done against the law….But have unable to get anything done due to not having enough votes to do so from their OWN Senate party lawmakers….

Looks like this effort won’t work either…

But?

Even if Trump gets the mandate removed from the tax bill?

There is a growing resisitance to the effects the bill would have on hig taxed blue states….

“If we can repeal part of Obamacare as part of a tax bill … that can pass, that’s great,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “If it becomes an impediment to getting the best tax bill we can, then we are OK with taking it out.”

It was too soon to say whether eliminating the repeal of the so-called individual mandate would increase the bill’s chances of passing. The provision was not an impediment now, Mulvaney said.

Republican senators who have been critical of the plan said that some middle-income taxpayers could see any benefits of the tax cuts wiped out by higher health insurance premiums if the repeal of the Obamacare mandate goes through.

Among them was Senator Susan Collins, one of a handful of Republicans who voted in July to block a broader Republican attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

“I don’t think that provision should be in the bill. I hope the Senate will follow the lead of the House and strike it,” Collins said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”….

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Senator Murkowski ‘s Tax Vote will come with Murray/Alexander Bill passage ….Update..

And then there was TWO Republicans against a possible Senate Tax bill….

Sen Collins(R-Maine)  has indicated that she is a ‘maybe’?

So Mitch McConnell ALREADY can’t bring any Senate bill up for a vote as things stand….

Sen. Lisa Murkowski suggested on Thursday that her vote on the current version of the tax overhaul is contingent on passing a separate bill to stabilize the individual health insurance market.

The tax legislation now includes a section to repeal the individual mandate — a provision that opens up over $300 billion in revenue — but could also threaten the viability of the overall health law.

The measure has caused some heartburn for moderate members, particularly Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, two of the three votes that helped sink the recent GOP bill to repeal the law earlier this year.

Murkowski believes legislation from Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexanderof Tennessee and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the panel’s top Democrat, is necessary before the mandate — which supporters of the law say is a critical foundation for the current insurance markets — is repealed.

“I think that there is a path and I think the path is a reasonable path,” the Alaska Republican said of her support for the measure. “If the Congress is going to move forward with repeal of the individual mandate, we absolutely must have the Alexander-Murray piece that is passed into law.”

Without such a measure — which would, among other things, appropriate money for the so-called cost-sharing subsidies — Murkowski says middle-class Americans may not receive the kind of tax relief the GOP is aiming to provide…..

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Update…

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Friday that passing a bipartisan ObamaCare bill is not necessarily a precondition for her to support a tax bill that repeals ObamaCare’s individual mandate….

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Obamacare sign-up’s continue to beat President Obama years levels…

It beginning to seem like everytime Republicans say they want to get rid of the countries healthcare program?

MORE people sign up?

Keep up the good work !

And the more that sign up?

The more that will be counted AGAINST Republican law makers if they lose their coverage, eh?

Oh….. and the Real Clear Politics average approval numbers for the program are 51% FOR vs 35% AGAINST…..

With ALL this does it REALLY make sense for Republican lawmakers too be knocking themselves out to sent over 10 million Americans out of their coverage?

Sign-ups surged as soon as enrollment opened Nov. 1, easily surpassing the number of Americans getting coverage during the opening days of the final two sign-up periods under the Obama administration. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported Wednesday that nearly 1.5 million people had selected plans through last Saturday.

In other words, there might be no such thing as bad news for Obamacare.

“As P.T. Barnum would say, as long as my name is in the papers and it’s spelled correctly, it’s all good,” said Michael Marchand, chief marketing officer for Washington state’s Obamacare marketplace, which saw its website traffic increase by 24 percent during the first week of enrollment. “I think there’s some truth to that.”

The conventional wisdom was that enrollment would dip significantly as a hostile administration gutted outreach and marketing. Analysts at Standard & Poor’s projected that anywhere from 800,000 to 1.6 million fewer Americans would sign up for 2018 coverage.

Instead, 876,788 individuals enrolled through HealthCare.gov during the second week of sign-ups alone — and that doesn’t count the states running their own markets and doing more ambitious outreach.

It’s early days; the initial burst of enthusiasm could sputter out. But at the moment, the fears appear overblown. The barrage of Obamacare news coverage, coupled with little-noticed steps taken by the Trump administration to ramp up participation by insurance brokers, may have provided an unexpected marketing boost for a health law the president has pronounced “dead.”

“All that negative publicity has been helpful,” said Kathy Hempstead, who oversees coverage programs at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Not that I’d necessarily recommend that going forward.”….

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Senate Republicans add Obamacare manadate cut to tax cut bill….

The chances of the tax cut bill passing in the US Senate just dropped…

Trying to sneak back to some sort of Obamacare Repeal stance is NOT gonna help things with the group of Senator’s, Republicans , who sunk previous efforts to scuttle the Affortable Helathcare Bill…

Senate Republicans took a big gamble Tuesday with their tax reform bill, adding a partial Obamacare repeal provision that would free up more money for tax cuts, but also inject significant new political hurdles.

The change, backed by President Trump and a handful of senators, would end the mandate under the Affordable Care Act that all Americans have health coverage. Senate GOP leaders had previously rejected the idea as too risky to include in their tax package, particularly after the repeated failed efforts earlier this year to repeal and replace the 2010 law.

Repealing the mandate would save the government an estimated $338 billion over 10 years, but only because millions of people would stop buying insurance and therefore would no longer receive subsidies to help pay for their premiums.

Looking for a way to fund their ambitious tax plan and under fire for giving most of the breaks to corporations and the wealthy, Senate Republicans made a last-minute decision to insert the Obamacare repeal. They plan to use the savings to pay for additional tax cuts for middle- and upper-class Americans.

It remains to be seen whether Senate leaders can muster the 50 votes needed from their own party to pass the new version, though they expressed confidence. “We’re optimistic that inserting the individual mandate repeal would be helpful,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.

As a possible concession to lure centrist Republicans who sank previous efforts to repeal the healthcare law, Senate leaders indicated they would move ahead with a bipartisan healthcare compromise bill worked out by Sens. Lamar Alexander(R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) that is intended to stabilize the healthcare markets. “We’re committed to moving Alexander-Murray,” Thune said.

But by inserting healthcare into the tax debate, Republicans risked reactivating opposition from the coalition of healthcare groups that helped quash their earlier repeal efforts….

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Here’s another potential problem with the Senate Republicans’ revised tax plan: “[T]hey are proposing making the new individual benefits expire at the end of 2025 in an effort to avoid adding to the long-term federal deficit,” the Los Angeles Times reports. “Proposed cuts to corporate taxes would be permanent, under the revised Senate plan.”

“Expiration of the individual tax cuts [is] likely to bolster criticism that the GOP overhauls favors corporations over middle-class Americans,” the LA Times adds.

According to September’s NBC/WSJ poll, a majority of Americans – 55 percent – said they preferred INCREASING taxes on corporations, versus 16 percent who favored DECREASING taxes for them. In other words, the individual tax cuts are more popular than the corporate ones are….

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Obamacare comes to the recue of Democrats….

The constant beat down of the program by Republicans worked for them when Bracak Obama WAS President….

With him out of office?

The Republicans find themselves having their efforts to repeal the helathcare progarm turning on them and helping the Democrats…

‘Turnabout IS fair play, eh?

…Tuesday’s elections [ November 2017] don’t ensure healthcare will remain a winning issue for Democrats in 2018, when party leaders hope they can retake the majority in at least one chamber of Congress.

But the emergence of healthcare as a political liability for Republicans marks a dramatic turnabout for the GOP, which for years reaped huge electoral gains by playing on the unpopularity of the 2010 law.

Tuesday’s results also represent a warning sign for Republicans eager to revive their campaign to repeal the law and its historic coverage expansion.

“In a year when attacks on health and healthcare came from every corner, voters in Maine sent a clear message: Access to healthcare coverage for low-income people should be expanded, not threatened or cut,” said Robert Restuccia, executive director of Community Catalyst, a national patient advocacy group. “We hope that elected officials in Congress and other states will take heed.”

The electoral results will pave the way for Medicaid expansion not only in Maine, but also perhaps in Virginia, where the GOP-controlled state Legislature had blocked expansion there for years. Democrats on Tuesday came close to taking a majority in the state House of Delegates, though final results won’t be known until later this week.

Meanwhile, advocates are eyeing new efforts to force leaders in other states to expand Medicaid eligibility, including in Idaho and Utah.

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have expanded eligibility for the government healthcare program since 2014, using federal money made available by the law to cover poor, working-age adults, a population that was historically not eligible for the coverage….

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Maine becomes first state to expand Medicaid by referendum

The vote is a  vote of support for the Affordable Healthcare Law known as Obamacare….and a kick in the pants against the state outspoken Conservative Republican Governor Paul Lapage…

The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion was a big winner tonight: Voters in Maine approved a ballot measure to participate in the expansion, and Democrats’ significant gains in Virginia improved the odds it will expand the program, too.
What’s next: Although Maine voters signed off on Medicaid expansion last night, some advocates expect Gov. Paul LePage to drag his feet until he leaves office next year, pushing the actual implementation of tonight’s referendum to his successor. In Virginia, Democrats’ romp through the House of Delegates — where the policy died under Gov. Terry McAuliffe — will make Medicaid expansion significantly more likely…..
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Obamacare signup’s break records since November first….

Nothing like a YUGE dose of media attention to get a YUGE number of people to sign up for a program that Republicans want to0 REEAL?

Anybody want to explain to the knucklehead Republicans and Donald Trump their leader that THEY ARE MAKING the Affordable Healthcare program named after President Obama MORE POPULAR than Barcak Obma and Democrats could even do…..

Over and OVER we see that the American Healthcare program is STRONGER than many could ever think….

ObamaCare signups surge in early days to set new record

A record number of people signed up for ObamaCare in the first few days of open enrollment this year compared to the same period in previous years, several sources close to the process told The Hill.

The surge in sign-ups, which was confirmed by an administration official, comes despite fears from Democrats that enrollment would fall off due to the Trump administration’s cutbacks in outreach and advertising.

On the first day of enrollment alone, Nov. 1, one source close to the process told The Hill that more than 200,000 people selected a plan for 2018, compared with about 100,000 last year. More than 1 million people visited healthcare.gov that day, compared to about 750,000 last year, the source said.

It is still early in the process and it is unclear how the final sign-up numbers will come out. Sign-ups early in the enrollment season are often people renewing their coverage, not new enrollees.

Standard & Poor’s forecasted last week that enrollment could drop by as much as 1.6 million people below last year’s level of 12.2 million signups, in part due to uncertainty from the administration’s actions.

The enrollment period is also about half as long this year, ending Dec. 15.

But the spike in sign-ups is some positive news for supporters of the health-care law who have been worrying about its fate under Republican control of Washington…..

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House votes to fund Chidren Health plan by cutting Billions from Community Health Centers…

Republicans to cut service from those who need it the most and they move to give the rich more in tax cuts….

Oh, and they are asking American seniuors to pony up more money for their medicare coverage……

‘Steal from the poor and less fortunate to give to the rich …The GOP cry!

Makes sense, huh?????

More than a month after Congress allowed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and community health centers to lapse, sending states scrambling to find emergency funding, the House of Representatives voted Friday on a bill to reauthorize the programs. Almost every Democrat voted no because the bill pays for CHIP by cutting more than $10 billion from Obamacare’s public health and prevention fund, and by raising Medicare fees for higher-income senior citizens.

The bill’s lead author, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), blasted Democrats Friday morning, accusing them of “voting against kids and their doctors.”

“We’re fully funding CHIP for five years. We’re fulling funding Community Health Centers for two years. We’re asking the wealthiest seniors in America to pay $135  more for their Medicare,” Walden said, casting withering looks at his Democratic colleagues preparing to vote against the measure. “How ironic. How cynical.”

Funding for the program, which covers about 9 million children nationwide, ran out at the end of September, as Republicans focused their energies on taking a series of unsuccessful votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Both the House and Senate had been working in a bipartisan fashion on the CHIP reauthorization for months, but those talks broke down in the House in October when Republicans chose several controversial spending cuts to offset the cost of the program.

Speaking just before the vote, Joan Alker, the executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and an expert on CHIP, called this partisan breakdown “discouraging and frustrating.”….

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Note….

It will be up to the Senate to change this….But will that after many families pull their kids out of coverage after Congressional Republicans play politics with their childrens healhcare…

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Support for Impeaching Donald Trump a hair below 50%…Biden ahead of him for 2020 ….Poll….

The Public Policy Polling poll also shows a trend that has NOT been a media favorite to talk about….

Support FOR Obamacare has risen above 50%

The poll also points to a 2020 re-election problem for Trump already ….If he’s around to and seeks to run again ?….Several Democrats are ALREADY looking like they would beat him….Joe Biden leads, with Sanders, Booker and Warren and others following in that order….

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PPP’s newest national poll finds a record level of support for impeaching Donald Trump. 49% of voters support impeaching him, to 41% who are opposed to doing so. This marks the 6th month in a row we’ve found a plurality of voters in favor of impeaching Trump, and it’s the closest we’ve found to a majority.

Trump’s approval rating has declined by a net 7 points in the last month. In September we found him at a -11 spread with 42% of voters approving of him to 53% who disapproved. Now he’s at -18 with 38% of voters approving of him to 56% who disapprove.

Trump claimed last week that he had accomplished more in 9 months than any President in American History, but only 25% of voters believe that claim to 66% who do not, although it’s a notable measure of the ‘Trump cult’ that 55% of those who voted for him do believe he’s the most accomplished to 32% who disagree. Voters actually put his first 9 months in a very different historical context- 49% already say they think he’s the worst President in American History, to 43% who dispute that notion. By a 54/40 margin voters wish Barack Obama was still President instead of Trump, and by a 48/42 spread they wish Hillary Clinton was in the White House rather than Trump.

Trump fares poorly on a number of metrics we tested in the poll. Only 37% of voters think he’s honest, to 56% who say he’s not. In fact a 52% majority come right out and say they think Trump is a liar, to 41% who disagree with that characterization. There are continued transparency concerns, with 60% of voters thinking he needs to release his tax returns to just 32% who don’t think it’s necessary for him to. And only 31% of voters think Trump has delivered on the core promise of his campaign to ‘Make America Great Again,’ to 60% who say he’s failed on that front….

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Note….

The Poll responders indicated that Trump was scarier than Ghosts, Vampires and other Halloween symbols…..

image…time

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Don’t look Now…But the Trump Admin is actually helping Obamacare going forward….

Donald Trump rants about how he thinks the Affordable Healthcare/Obamacre program is no good….But on the other hand?

His Admin IS doing things to make SURE the program does NOT work….

As always?

Look at Donald Trump DOES , NOT what he says….

Despite President Trump’s repeated declarations that “Obamacare is finished … dead … gone,” the first full open enrollment period of the Trump era begins on Wednesday, and the administration has taken some surprisingly strong steps to make it a success.

“It’s been completely bipolar,” health care analyst Charles Gaba told TPM. “They’re helping, they’re hurting, they’re helping, they’re hurting.”

Last week, as they have in past years, HHS shared a database of all available health plans to give Americans’ a full week to “window shop” before enrollment began. They also plan to periodically share how many Americans have signed up for insurance during the enrollment period, hire as many call center workers for Healthcare.gov as last year, and are using social media to remind the public to enroll.

Randy Pate, the deputy administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), recently told the Washington Examiner that he aims to provide a “seamless open enrollment for consumers” starting Nov. 1.

To that end, CMS announced last week that it will send out notices encouraging people to enroll or re-enroll, staff the call centers at the same level as last year, target outreach to the currently uninsured “with a special focus on young and healthy consumers” who will help improve the risk pool and bring down costs for everyone, and use text messages, emails, and robocalls to remind people to enroll.

In posting information about all available marketplace health plans a week in advance to allow consumers to window shop, CMS organized the data by price, taking into account the tax credits and subsidies most people can receive to bring down their out-of-pocket costs….

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image….talkingpointsmemo.com

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The Affordable Healthcare law performed fine this year…Next year…Well?

A new study out debunks all of the doom and gloom on how the Affordable Healthcare (Obamacare ) program is ACTUALLY doing this year….

It reports that insurance companies held the line and made marginal profits by increasing premunim’s for policyn holder and that those policy holders should have made out alright by getting the tax credits available….

Huh?

Yes…

The study Taking Stock of Insurer Financial Performance in the Individual Health Insurance Market Through 2017,” points to the program ACTUALLY working the way it is SUPPOSED to despite the media , Republican and Donald Trump cries against it….

The report points out that despite reports in the media?

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Most Americans would have been able to balance increases in their 2018 premiums with tax credits….

In fact, in a little noticed regard….

If Trump and Congress do NOT resume subsidies to healthcare insurance providers? (They will)….ANOTHER type of subsidy will kick -in for some …..

The reality is that the Affordable Healthcare program isn’t gonna be repealed and will survive….

The program is doing better than the what is being sold to the public on a politiocal plate…..

Republican efforts seem to be aimed at hurting the weakest part of the program…

Healthcare benefits for low population Red states…

But then ?

That is how things have just about always been , eh?

The report finds that insurers were on track to break even or make modest profits on ACA-compliant individual market policies in 2017, on average, before the Trump Administration’s decision to end cost-sharing reduction payments. The sharp improvement for 2017 were the result of the significant premium increases insurers implemented for 2017, together with continued subdued claims growth in the ACA-compliant individual market. That progress should have set the stage for comparatively moderate premium increases in 2018, likely in the mid-to-high-single digits. The higher premium increases occurring in reality likely reflect a range of threatened and actual changes in federal policy.

In greater detail, the report reaches two main conclusions about the state of the individual market in 2017 and how the market would have evolved in 2018 in the absence of recent changes in policy:

  • Insurers were on track to break even or make modest profits on ACA-compliant policies in 2017, on average, before the administration ended cost-sharing reduction payments: The report estimates that insurers were on track to incur small losses averaging 0.4 percent of premium revenue on ACA-compliant policies in 2017 before the administration ended cost-sharing reduction payments for the final quarter of the year. Furthermore, there is reason to believe that the data used in this analysis may systematically understate insurers’ actual financial performance, suggesting that insurers were, in fact, on track to make modest profits on ACA-compliant policies in 2017, on average nationwide….

 

  • In a stable policy environment, 2018 premium increases for ACA-compliant policies would have been in the mid-to-high single digits on average nationwide…..

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image…latimes.com

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Trump to order public health emergency for opioids…

The Trump Admin moves to deal with a widespread American illegal drug problem…

President Trump will order his health secretary to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency Thursday — but will stop short of declaring a more sweeping state of national emergency, aides said.

In an address from the White House, Trump will also try to rally the nation to a growing epidemic that claimed 64,000 American lives last year, and will advocate for a sustained national effort to end to the addiction crisis.

“Drug demand and opioid misuse is the crisis next door,” said Kellyanne Conway, a senior counselor to the president, previewing the tone of Trump’s speech Wednesday. “This is no longer someone else’s co-worker, someone else’s community, someone else’s kid. Drug use knows no geographic boundaries or demographic differences.”

To respond to that crisis, Trump will sign a presidential memorandum ordering Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan to waive regulations and give states more flexibility in how they use federal funds, said four senior officials responsible for crafting the administration’s new opioid policy…..

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Obamacare Healthcare Open Enrollment begins November 1…The Trump increases coming….

People will have to deal with the ‘Trump ‘ premium increase’s since he won’t reimburse  insurance companies  for subsidizeing premiums for thosands who need coverage…

For some ?

Not paying the first subsidy will kick in tax credit’s for some people  anyways…(Probably no good for poorer people though)….

Consumers can now begin previewing 2018 plans and premiums for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, even as President Donald Trump continues his push to dismantle the Obama-era law.

Open enrollment begins Nov. 1.

Officials at the Health and Human Services department said Wednesday that plans and premiums for the coming year were posted on HealthCare.gov. Starting next week, new customers can begin submitting applications, and returning ones can make changes to their coverage. Open enrollment will end early, on Dec. 15, about half the time allotted under Barack Obama’s administration.

The Trump administration’s launch comes after the president abruptly pulled the plug on federal payments that reimburse insurers for reduced copays and deductibles they’re required to provide to people of modest means. That exposes insurers to a potential $1 billion loss for the remainder of this year, and state regulators have been approving premium increases for next year to compensate.

In Rhode Island, the state insurance marketplace has dubbed its 18 percent to 20 percent increase a “Trump tax.” Administration officials say the payments were not properly approved by Congress and Trump is following the Constitution.

About 10 million people currently have private coverage through government-sponsored markets like HealthCare.gov. More than 8 in 10 customers receive tax credits to help pay their premiums, and that aid is still available despite the political turmoil.

Unlike the Obama years, the Trump administration has set no enrollment goal…..

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McConnell wants Trump to make up his mind on Alexander/Murray Bipartisan Healthcare Bill….

I just did a piece on how Donald Trump keeps talking about the Senate Cassidy/Graham Healthcare Repeal bill….

Let’s face it?

That Trump talk is is just deal making….

It turns out that Trump’s people are ALSO talking to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Senate Minority Leader  Schumer about the Alexander/Murray Bill which McConnell and Schumer KNOW  know has the votes to pass in the Senate….

The bill would keep the Affordable Healthcare Bill known as Obamacare intact ….(There is NO chance of a outright Repeal)

McConnel is asking for cover from the White House for his people since the Conservatives in the House are gonna NOT be happy…..( Trump keeps talking about adding things to the finished product to keep his parties conservatives from calling him and complaining …McConnell wants him to ‘man up’ and decide what he’s do)

Don’t forget….

Donald Trump just wants a win on ANYTHING….

He REALLY doesn’t care about the fine print…..

He just wants to read the media and go golfing….

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he is ready to move a bipartisan health-care bill but needs President Trump first to clarify what he will sign.

“What I’m waiting is to hear from President Trump what kind of health-care bill he might sign,” McConnell said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think he hasn’t made a final decision. When he does, and I know that we’re not just debating it, but actually passing something to be signed, I would be happy to bring it up.”

Last week, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced an agreement to restore federal payments that help offset out-of-pocket health insurance costs for low-income Americans. The deal would give states more flexibility in how they regulate health coverage, a conservative goal.

But the administration signaled to Senate Republican negotiators Friday that it also wants to give individuals and employers retroactive relief from the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate, according to individuals briefed on the matter, a request that is sure to anger Democrats….

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Trump is talking about ANOTHER Senate vote on Obamacare Repeal?

‘Insanity  IS?…..

Doing the same thing over and over and getting the SAME results is?’

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Repeatedly claiming that Republicans have the votes to repeal major parts of Obamacare early next year, Trump is stoking expectations that the GOP can fulfill its seven-year pledge before the 2018 midterm elections — a promise that Republicans once again might not be able to keep.

The Senate, Trump says, will have the 50 votes needed to enact the bill known as Graham-Cassidy, the last of a series of repeal bids that went down in flames this summer and fall.

The reality is that no matter what the president says at the White House or how often he says it, nothing has changed at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Not a single “no” vote has flipped to a “yes.” When senators talk about repeal after months of failure, they are talking about hopes and dreams — not about 50 votes to pass it.

“I think eventually, I may be speaking aspirationally, eventually we’ll have 50 votes for Graham-Cassidy or something like that,” Thune said.

The cold hard reality has not stopped Trump — who has never served in a legislature and who confounded senators with his rapid-fire conflicting statements all week about whether he favored a bipartisan Obamacare stabilization effort — from insisting there are 50 votes for dismantling the 2010 health law….

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image…newyorker.com

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