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Will Senate Republicans repeal Obamacare when nobody's looking?

Some fear passage of Trumpcare while the nation is distracted by the Russia scandal
Mitch McConnell

U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

Photo: Getty Images

Some opponents of the American Health Care Act are sounding the alarm over social media, worried that the Senate may pass the bill under cover of night (or the hue and tweetstorms) surrounding President Trump's Russia scandal.

Earlier this month, several senators said it was unlikely they'd corral the 50 votes necessary to pass a bill to repeal Obamacare and generally left the impression that the movement was dead in the water — but that may have been a smokescreen.

As the world parsed Trump's tweets and did White Russian shots during James Comey's televised testimony, Republicans continued to have closed-door meetings to write their version of the AHCA. And Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell just made a procedural move to fast-track the resulting legislation.

McConnell initiated a Senate process known as Rule 14, which allows a bill to avoid committees and be put directly on the floor for a vote. On Tuesday, the Senate Budget Committee chair announced that the Senate parliamentarian would allow the bill to be considered under reconciliation, a process that would avoid a Democratic filibuster.

Politico reports that senators want a vote this month, and an early draft of the legislation could be released within a week. “Republicans are dead-set on getting to 50 votes so they can jam some version of Trumpcare through the Senate,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) told the Washington Post. “So Democrats are looking at every possible scenario.”

Several sounded the alarm on Twitter:

 

The House passed the American Health Care Act last month, without a Congressional Budget Office score or a sense of how much it would cost. It would make large cuts to Medicare, allow older Americans to be charged more for care and permit insurers to decline coverage for pre-existing conditions.

The CBO ultimately found that the AHCA would cause 23 million people to lose health insurance over the next decade.

 
 
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