Sen. Lamar Alexander says GOP’s Obamacare repeal plan will need votes to pass
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told lawmakers Thursday that GOP leaders will need to vote on their own plan to repeal and replace Obamacare before it can be signed into law.
Price, who will soon be replaced by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), said that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) will have the votes needed to pass the GOP bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a plan to keep the ACA’s mandates.
Price said the House has an “open invitation” to vote for a repeal bill that does not include any Medicaid cuts or other changes to Obamacare.
The House will have to vote by May 31 to pass legislation to replace the law, and it must be signed by Trump by June 5.
Price noted that the GOP plan would have to pass a number of Senate hurdles, including a 60-vote threshold to pass.
The bill would not be able to become law without the support of Democrats.
“The plan that we have today is going to need a majority of the Senate, and we have to win over a number.
And we have a lot of work to do,” Price said.
The CBO expects to release a report on the Republican plan on May 10.
It would also need to pass by July 5 and be signed on to by the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – Ky.) said Thursday that Republicans would need at least 50 votes to begin negotiations over the bill.
But McConnell added that the Senate would need a two-thirds majority to pass it.
“It’s not the kind of bill you can do with 50 votes,” McConnell said.
“I think that we’ve got to get that to 50.
So I think we’ll get there, but we’ve gotta do it with 51.”
The bill will be unveiled as part of the president’s State of the Union address on Thursday.
Price on Thursday urged the Senate to vote to repeal Obamacare and replace the ACA with a Republican-backed plan to fix it.
He said that Republicans’ proposal would save millions of people from rising premiums, boost economic growth, and help stabilize the insurance markets.
Price told reporters that Republicans are “working toward a solution that works.”
“The Republicans are committed to working with Democrats and with the American people to create a solution,” Price told The Hill.
“This is a long-term project.”
The CBO has predicted that the legislation will result in the same number of people with insurance as under the ACA, but it would still leave 23 million more people uninsured.
The nonpartisan agency said the legislation would add about 2 million people to the insurance rolls.
Republicans have been pressing for an additional $800 billion in funding to replace and stabilize the ACA over the next decade.
The White House is expected to say on Thursday that the House’s plan will save $800 million a year over the long term and could cut insurance premiums by as much as $2,500 a year.