NPR reported yesterday that a “secret” working group of 13 United States Senators has been meeting to hammer out the next steps in repealing Obamacare.
What do we know at this point?
One, the Senate is NOT taking up the House bill, but will likely use the framework that it was created in (a budget bill) so the reconciliation process can be used. Why is this important? Because to pass a budget reconciliation bill you only need 51 votes and there are 52 GOP Senators.
Two, Senator Ted Cruz is helping lead this working group. This is important because of this: Ted Cruz Shops One and Done Bill. HIs focus is on driving premiums down. That is a winning issue that crosses ideological lines.
Third, according to the NPR story:
Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bill Cassidy, R-La., have introduced their own health care plan, and they have been prominent voices in the debate, but they were excluded from the health care working group.
If you recall, Bill Cassidy was floating his “Jimmy Kimmel Test” last week. He clearly has no intention of repealing Obamacare and its rising premiums. Susan Collins doesn’t either. The fact that neither are in the room bodes well for this process.
Four, Joe Manchin and other red state Democrats up in 2018 now face a tough decision: keep their Senate seats by voting with their constituents and driving premiums down or lose their seats by voting with the Washington, DC based leadership. They are literally between a rock and a hard place and our guess is 2-3 of them will buckle when the right bill is presented.
While a lot of other news has buried all this, keep an eye on Ted Cruz and this working group. We think something really good is going to come from it.
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