Close vote expected on New Hampshire budget

Protestors gather during a demonstration against the Republican repeal of the Affordable Care Act outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington U.S

Whereas various versions of the bill Democrats wrote in 2009 and 2010 went through committees, where Republicans could offer feedback and amendments, the Senate has held no hearings and no committee votes on the bill the Republicans are writing. But underscoring the uncertainty he faces, senators from both ends of his party's spectrum were grumbling about the bill's expected contents and the clandestine way it's being crafted.

Republicans familiar with the effort said Senate leaders have more work to do to secure from the pool of 52 GOP senators the 50 votes needed to pass the measure, with Vice President Mike Pence prepared to cast a tiebreaking vote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have none of it.

"If it is going to pass, the bill is going to have to make meaningful steps to reduce premiums", he said.

Sources say top Senate Republicans are finalizing their plan for dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law. Its goal is to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act-former President Obama's signature legislation.

Senate Republicans will begin their sprint to dismantle Obamacare by finally unveiling their super-secret plan today before racing to build support ahead of a looming Fourth of July recess. The AHCA used age rather than income to calculate subsidies. Led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), they are barrelling toward a vote next week on a bill that as of Wednesday afternoon they had not released to the public - eliciting expressions of concern about the rushed process even from Republicans.

The Hill reported that the additional funding for opioid programs that GOP senators were considering as a way of blunting the bill's Medicaid cuts was likely to be axed. There are a lot of great things we'd like to see packed into the Republicans' AHCA, but will we?

"I can not say what I would vote for if I haven't seen it", Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski told reporters. "And these are merely the first steps we're prepared to take in order to shine a light on the shameful Trumpcare bill and reveal to the public the GOP's backroom deal-making". It is not clear whether the bill preserves the Obamacare requirement that insurers cover people with preexisting conditions or allows insurers to charge them more for coverage.

Republicans also complain that the bill has been hampered by the constant buzz coming from the White House - particularly, as Mr McCain alluded to, from the investigations into potential Russian collusion by the Trump campaign. Trump reportedly dismissed the House-passed effort - which he celebrated last month in a Rose Garden ceremony - as "mean".

Republicans have been meeting behind closed doors for weeks trying to resolve their differences over tax credits, expansion of Medicaid, money for Planned Parenthood and other issues.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who has been leading the negotiations around Medicaid, was mum on on how quickly the Senate bill would phase out expansion funding.

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