WASHINGTON – Senate Republican leaders are trotting out their new, but reeling, health care bill and angling toward a showdown vote next week amid signs that they have lots of work ahead to win over GOP lawmakers or face a resounding failure.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., planned to present the revamped measure rolling back much of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act to GOP senators Thursday.
He’s aiming at a do-or-die vote next week on whether to begin debating the bill – a roll call for which he’s got little to no margin for error. Since Democrats uniformly oppose the effort, McConnell needs the votes of 50 of the 52 GOP senators to prevail.
Chautauqua County’s representative in Congress, Corning Republican Tom Reed, said he’s not going to predict how the vote will pan out in the Senate. During his weekly conference call with regional media, he did say that as Republicans in Congress work to address costly health insurance in the country by replacing the Affordable Care Act with the American Health Care Act, but he’s hoping lawmakers will also continue to identify ways to improve health care for Americans.
“Right now we’re having primarily the focus on health insurance and what the American Health Care Act is going to do to stabilize these Obamacare insurance market places,” Reed said. “But there are opportunities, I truly believe, that when we get to the issue of health care and improving health care in America and how we develop policies that reward quality and do it in the most cost-efficient manner, those conversations are something we can have at the same time when it comes to dealing with health insurance in the present manner.”
Reed also responded to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent criticism of the GOP health insurance plan, which would significantly cut Medicaid funding across the country, some of which is used to combat the ongoing Opioid epidemic. Reed said that both the House and the Senate have included funding to address the opioid crisis in their respective healthcare bills, adding that the governor is using the crisis to cover up his unwillingness to make tough decisions in the state budget.
“I think what the governor is doing is he’s just so afraid to make the hard decisions in order to control the cost of Medicaid and make it sustainable in regards to not being placed on the backs of hard working Americans who are paying the bill through their tax bills in the state of New York and to try to work together, I hope, long-term, to make those hard decisions to get Medicaid in a more efficient, effective manner,” Reed said. “So from my perspective, what the governor is doing is he is just engaging in the practice we see out of typical politicians who don’t want to engage in the hard issues.”
Governor Cuomo says that the funding proposed by the Republicans in Congress to fight the opioid addiction is not even close to the amount that would be needed to properly address the crisis. He made his comments in an op-ed piece that appeared earlier this week in the New York Daily News.