Only 17 percent of Americans approve of the American HealthCare Act (AHCA), but that’s not stopping the Senate GOP from attempting to push it through the Senate. Perhaps it’s not so surprising that Americans stand so fervently opposed to a bill that Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates suggest will cost 23 million Americans their health insurance, in part due to an $834 billion cut to Medicaid.
On Monday, Axios reported that the GOP has no plans to publicly release the bill, citing two senior Senate GOP aides. Leader Mitch McConnell plans to have a vote on the bill, which impacts more than 1/6th of the entire American economy, before the July 4th recess.
“You couldn’t have a more partisan exercise than what you’re engaged in right now,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) told Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, “We’re not going to have an opportunity to offer a single amendment. It is all being done with an eye to try to get it by with 50 votes and the Vice President.”
A committee of Republican members of the Senate have been working to revise the AHCA, which was passed by House Republicans on March 4th, behind closed doors. The Senate bill is reportedly very similar to the bill passed in the house, which the CBO report showed would increase deficits and lead to huge premium increases for the poor and elderly.
Democrats have been chastising the GOP for their lack of transparency. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the process “shameful” and Senator Bernie Sanders mocked Senate Republicans on Twitter, posting a picture of a blank sheet of paper with the caption “BREAKING: Senate Republicans just released the schedule of hearings, committee markups and public testimony for their health care bill.”
CNBC reported on Monday that the bill is expected to be finalized by June 19th, giving the GOP just over two weeks to get a score back from the CBO and hold a vote before going home to face their constituencies.
Democrats are hoping for opposition to the bill from moderate GOP members like Susan Collins of Maine and Jeff Flake of Arizona, but it might not be enough. Senators Dean Heller (R-Nev), Shelly Capito(R-WV), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) all previously stood opposed to ending the Medicaid expansion in the states they represent, but have in recent weeks indicated they could go along with killing the extra funding if the cutoff was delayed.