The draft legislative texts that will make up the American Health Care Act cleared two House committees this week amid vociferous complaints about the legislation, seemingly from all quarters. At some level this is understandable. After all, nobody expected the Democrats to stand up and applaud a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. And for Republicans, three other factors contribute. First, health-care reform is hard, and there are widely varying views of the best policy. Second, these are draft bills, not final legislation. The markup process is supposed to identify and modify unpopular provisions. Finally, the bill’s scope is limited by the budget reconciliation rules that fast-track Senate consideration. It is simply not possible to embody the full range of policy issues in a reconciliation bill, and some disappointment directly follows from what has had to be left out.
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The Senate is advancing Seema Verma, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Senators voted 54-44 Thursday on her nomination, which needed only a simple majority to overcome the initial procedural hurdle.
The Senate could take a final vote on Verma on Friday night, but her confirmation is expected to be kicked to Monday.
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A Republican proposal to revise the Affordable Care Act claimed its first major victories Thursday amid a backlash that both Republican leaders and President Trump spent the day trying to tamp down.
Trump met with conservative critics of the plan, signaling both a willingness to negotiate its details and that it does not yet have enough votes to emerge from the House. More acknowledgment of the proposal’s problems came from Senate Republicans, who suggested Thursday that the measure is moving too quickly through the House and in a form unlikely to succeed if it gets to the upper chamber.
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