Get serious on health care

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Some conservative lawmakers say an implosion of the Republican legislation would open the door to a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, putting off until later a decision about what system to put in its place.

"We have had - for seven years - we have promised to do that", he told an audience at the Renaissance Austin Hotel.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT): "Look it's been said before the ACA is not flawless, and it can it could use some, it could use some amendment, but to replace it with this bill is about the most irresponsible thing I've ever seen since and then 10 years I've been in the United States Senate". Mike Lee recently announced his next town hall meeting will be on the topic of health care.

"The Senate GOP health bill would be a disaster for West Virginia and is fatally flawed", director Ted Boettner said. The House of Representatives' bill to replace the Affordable Care Act was so abhorrent that some representatives tried to justify their shoddy work by saying the Senate would fix it.

Marsh, 67, defended the Obama administration's health care law for several minutes.

"When it comes to repealing Obamacare, what I think is critical is that Republicans, we've got to honor the promise we made to the voters that millions of Americans are hurting under Obamacare", Cruz said. If Republicans can't pass their bill, he tweeted, "they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!"

While many in their party are vowing to fight until the bitter end for the Senate's bill to "repeal and replace" Obamacare, others are returning from the Fourth of July break admitting that the bill is looking dead on arrival.

Republicans have a 52-48 majority in the Senate, giving them little room for dissenters to oppose the repeal, since all Democrats say they will vote against the overhaul. Where the House bill would leave 23 million more people uninsured, the Senate bill would hurt "only" 22 million - mostly poor people, children and older Americans. So we are all paying more, but it appears it could have been worse. And he said it's very important it does. Ben Sasse (R-NE), who said on CNN: "We should do repeal with a delay - let's be clear, I don't want to see anybody thrown off the coverage they have now". We don't have the votes to do that.

It certainly reads as a warning to the holdouts: If we don't pass this bill, we will have to take some action that enshrines Obamacare.

"I think it would be catastrophic", he said.

"Whether or not we can come together I don't know", Graham said on NBC's Meet the Press.

More than a dozen Austin groups demonstrated outside the hotel before Thursday's forum.

Leadership held a flurry of closed-door negotiations before the recess as they tried to reach deals that would win over undecided lawmakers, including adding more money for opioid treatment.

Protester Elizabeth Bray, whose husband and daughter have pre-existing conditions, said the bill feels unfair.

Boley said Friday that he and other hospital officials aren't advocating taking dollars from states that are using them to help care for the needy. With some luck, the proposal pushed by Cruz will harden the split between the most and least conservative elements in the Senate GOP, and the real work on improving the ACA can begin.

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