Sunday, July 2, 2017

Cruz, Lee Quietly Negotiate Healthcare Plan     

By: Wanda Carruthers  / NEWSMAX

Image: Cruz, Lee Quietly Negotiate Healthcare PlanThe 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. 
The factions within the Republican party have not as yet agreed on a final plan that will appeal to moderates as well as conservatives.

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 holding firm in their belief any plan would need to offer Americans the opportunity to choose whether or not to participate in Obamacare. Both Cruz and Lee were elected on a platform of repealing Obamacare, but Lee indicated he could accept giving people a choice instead of a full-blown repeal.

"We campaigned on repealing Obamacare for eight years. At a bare minimum, we should allow those Americans who want to opt out of Obamacare to do so," Lee told Politico.

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.

"It'll make it much easier for conservatives in the House" if they succeed, said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., House Freedom Caucus chairman and ally of Lee and Cruz. "Really, the greatest flux you have with getting 218 in the House is probably more with conservatives than it is moderates."

"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."
Republican leaders expressed optimism conservative senators would be able to draft a compromise.

"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."

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