Senate Steers Toward Showdown Vote Next Week on Health Bill

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Senate Republicans are finally set to unveil the healthcare bill.

The impact of these tax cuts will be enormous, and will put the cost of health care coverage out of reach for millions of Americans.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republicans are angling toward a Senate vote next week on their marquee effort to erase much of President Barack Obama's health care law.

The announcement comes as Democrats, and some Republicans, on Capitol Hill have voiced concerns that the process to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act has been shrouded in secrecy.

The House of Representatives narrowly approved its version of repeal last month.

McConnell's ability to assess and line up votes is considered masterful, and he's eager to pass legislation fulfilling a keystone campaign promise of President Donald Trump and countless GOP congressional candidates.

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As Democrats demand more transparency, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and allies are scrambling to piece together a health care bill that can garner 50 votes in the Senate.

While a draft of the bill is expected to be released Thursday, Senate Republicans have yet to disclose concrete details about the bill's exact terms, including whether funding will be awarded to Planned Parenthood, a women's health organization that, in addition to other programs, provides abortion services.

He fiercely opposed the House version, and McConnell likely won't look to him for support, which means he'll need nearly every other Senate Republican to vote in favor of the measure. "I've always said I would have preferred a more open process".

It all adds up to one of the thorniest legislative challenges McConnell has come up against since taking over as majority leader in 2015. Republicans are also battling over how best to remake the Medicaid program, with key vote senators like Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia sounding skittish about Medicaid reductions.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed complaints that Republicans were working behind closed doors as "laughable", and insisted "everyone will have adequate time" to review what he called Thursday's "discussion draft" before the vote.

Moderate Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she didn't know how she'd vote, saying, "What is the deal we have?"

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For the senators now crafting the Obamacare replacement, it matters little what is in the plan or what its effects will be. And another conservative, Sen. She has said she can't take a position on the Senate's current efforts because she has not seen the bill or the CBO's assessment of it, but she has expressed concern over coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and a rollback of Medicaid expansion. Another possibility was letting states drop some coverage requirements Obama's law imposes on insurers, they said.

The procedures McConnell will use will let Senate Republicans pass the bill as long as no more than two of the 52 GOP senators oppose it.

They're pushing for a vote next week.

Senate Republicans gave themselves the goal of having the new bill passed by the July 4th recess, but as it gets closer their timeline is getting more hard to reach.

Also Tuesday, three Democratic senators went on a failed quest to the Washington headquarters of the Congressional Budget Office to obtain a copy of the Senate bill, livestreamed via Facebook.

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