Cruz, Lee Quietly Negotiate Healthcare Plan
The many dynamics at play in the Republicaneffort to change the nation's healthcare system from Obamacare are centered presently in the Senate as lawmakers work to craft legislation that has a good chance of becoming law.
While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed a working group of 13 members who drafted a plan behind closed doors, more conservative GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah have worked on their own quiet effort for a new healthcare law, Politico reported Saturday.
The two are also working to provide alternatives for coverage of pre-existing conditions, a sticking point for some lawmakers. Their success as negotiators could signal whether the bill would succeed in getting passed in the House.
"We are making steady progress towards bringing the conference towards agreement," Cruz told reporters on Thursday after a private meeting with McConnell. "I'm hopeful we can come together."
"He's always saying on this bill: 'I want to get to yes.' But obviously he'd like to move it in a more conservative direction," said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, about Cruz. "When you have a conference as diverse as ours, how do you get 50 people on the same bill?"
And co-negotiator, Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said in order for Cruz and Lee to get to their goals, "We have to be [flexible], because the process itself may make it impossible."