Letter to the editor: GOP's health care plan is shameful

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Sasse said that if Senate Republicans are unable to agree to a comprehensive measure that both repeals and replaces the existing law, "then there's no reason to walk away".

Short predicted a repeal bill would have enough Republican votes to pass, and "then at that point, if you've repealed it, you can come back with a replacement effort that could be more bipartisan", he said.

McConnell postponed a vote on an initial version Tuesday because of opposition from conservatives and moderates alike. Senators have left Washington for the Fourth of July break without voting on a bill as planned.

After failing to bring the Senate to a vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week, Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have argued that the best path forward is to repeal Obamacare now and then delay replacing the legislation until a later date. Trump wrote early Friday. "We think that Leader McConnell and his senators are working and trying to get this piece of legislation on track", he said.

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"That doesn't achieve what President Trump set out to do", he said. Even before Trump weighed in, though, it wasn't clear how far he was getting. Even as he sought to discuss flooding issues, an attendee interrupted to mention Medicaid, prompting others to chant, "Health care!"

Even as McConnell worked behind-the-scenes to find a way to allay the concerns of conservatives, who didn't believe the bill went far enough to repeal Obamacare, and centrists, who anxious about Medicaid cuts and the 22 million more people who would be uninsured under the plan, Trump took to Twitter. Doing otherwise would invite accusations that Republicans were simply tossing people off coverage and would roil insurance markets by raising the question of whether, when and how Congress might replace the 2010 law once it was gone. And as Republicans consider whether their health-care bill puts their anti-tax philosophy into practice, the route they take will say a lot about who's really in control of their party.

Health industry officials have warned that overturning the existing law, which has extended insurance to roughly 20 million Americans and changed the rules under which insurance is offered across the country, would create chaos in a sector that accounts for one-sixth of the US economy. "Every time you add federal money, more spending, for the big-government Republicans, it offends the conservatives", Paul said on "Fox News Sunday". Mimicking a southern accent, the New Jersey-born Cuccinelli said, "Root and branch, root and branch", repeating an expression McConnell once used about how thoroughly he wanted to repeal the Obama law. "The American people said, 'We elected a Republican president, a Republican House and a Republican Senate".

Lawmakers who fled the Capitol for the July 4 recess are struggling to make sense of a health care reform debate that was scrambled once again by President Trump late last week.