Senate Move On U.S. Spending Bill Sets Up House Obamacare Fight

The 52 people who are deciding the fate of health care in America

The two chambers of Congress were designed to be equal. But, let’s be practical. In the modern history of legislating, the U.S. Senate — with its close margins and 60-vote threshold for most bills — has been the bigger driving force in what becomes law.

And right now in the Senate, the 52-member Republican caucus determines what can pass in a reconciliation bill. Here are some vital stats on the 52 people deciding the fate of the health care overhaul.

  • Medicaid: 25 of the 52 senators represent states where 20 percent or more of their state is covered by Medicaid.
  • Medicaid expansion: 20 of the 52 GOP senators represent states which opted for the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. A majority, 32, represent states without the Medicaid expansion. (Overall, a majority of states expanded Medicaid).
  • Up for re-election: Nine Republican senators are up for election or reelection this year or next year.
  • Remember the Obamacare debate? Some 30 GOP senators – the majority – were not in the Senate during the one-year-plus debate on the Affordable Care Act. 22 were not in Congress at all.
  • Average age: That would be 61.6, meaning nearly half of Senate Republicans are approaching or have already reached Medicare age.

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