Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are expected to speak about the latest GOP effort to reform the Affordable Care Act in Tuesday news conferences.
McConnell and Schumer are expected to begin speaking around 2 p.m. ET. Watch live in the player above.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday praised the revived Republican effort to uproot former President Barack Obama’s health care law, giving a public boost to a proposal that’s given new life to a drive that seemed all but dead earlier this summer.
McConnell, R-Ky., said the bill would let states “implement better health care ideas by taking more decision-making power out of Washington” and letting local officials decide “works better in their own particular states.”
Backed by the White House and Senate leaders, the bill’s chief sponsors, Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy, are still hunting for the 50 GOP votes they’d need to prevail over solid Democratic opposition. Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote in a roll call that must happen by the end of September, before special procedures shielding the bill from a Democratic filibuster expire.
The 140-page legislation would replace much of Obama’s law with block grants to states, giving them wide leeway on spending the money, and would cut and reshape Medicaid. It would let states set their own coverage health requirements, allow insurers to boost premiums on people with serious medical conditions and end Obama’s mandates that most Americans buy insurance and that companies offer coverage to workers.
McConnell called the proposal “an intriguing idea and one that has a great deal of support.” He warned that the chance to dismantle Obama’s law, a top priority for President Donald Trump and the GOP, “may well pass us by if we don’t act soon.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the measure would be a step backward that would cause millions to lose coverage and drive up costs for many. With the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office saying it won’t be able to measure the bill’s impact on coverage and premiums by months end, Schumer warned Republicans against voting without knowing the measure’s impact.
“The senators on the other side of the aisle should be walking around here with a blindfold over their eyes, because they don’t know what they’re voting on,” Schumer said as Democrats and their allies mustered an all-out effort to try killing the measure. “Maybe they don’t care.”
A pair of potent interest groups, The American Medical Association and AARP, weighed in against the GOP bill in letters to lawmakers.