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GOP throws another curve ball into Obamacare repeal debate


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, speaks to the media following a meeting with Republican Senators and US President Donald Trump to discuss the health care bill at the White House, July 19, 2017.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, speaks to the media following a meeting with Republican Senators and US President Donald Trump to discuss the health care bill at the White House, July 19, 2017.

Even an Obamacare plan won’t cover this health-care headache.

Senate Republicans on Thursday threw a curve ball into the already complicated Obamacare repeal game when they introduced yet another amendment to their bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.

The new version, posted on a Senate website, would strip out the so-called Cruz amendment that would allow insurers to sell much-less-generous, and hence less expensive, individual health plans.

But it is not clear that that amendment, crafted by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will remain out of the bill as Senate Republican leaders continue to push for a vote for legislation that would undo much or all of Obamacare.

That new version is the third for the Better Care Reconciliation Act, and comes as GOP leaders in the Senate have become increasingly desperate to pass some kind of health-care reform.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has so far failed in his effort to corral the 50 votes necessary to pass a bill. McConnell cannot even muster enough Republican senators to support a procedural motion that would allow the bill to head toward a final vote.

The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday it will issue an analysis of the new version later in the day.

That analysis is expected to estimate how many more Americans would become uninsured over the next decade as a result of the new bill, as well related projections on insurance prices and the budget deficit.

The report would be the second projection related to Obamacare released by the non-partisan CBO within a 24-hour period.

On Wednesday, the CBO issued a report that estimated the effects of another Senate bill, which would repeal most of Obamacare without immediately replacing it with a new health-care law.

That report said such a repeal by 2026 would increase the number of people without health insurance by 32 million people above the number that would uninsured if the current law remained in place.

The repeal bill also would double insurance premiums in the individual plan market and leave up to three-quarters of the United States without an insurer selling such plans by 2026.

President Donald Trump earlier in the week called for a full repeal of Obamacare.

On Wednesday, Trump pushed Senate Republicans to reach agreement on health-care legislation before leaving Washington for the August recess.

“We have to stay here. We shouldn’t leave town, and we should hammer this out and get it done,” Trump said.

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