Senate pushes for healthcare vote by end of the month

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Republicans are planning to hold a closed-door lunch today in which GOP leaders will present senators with several options for what the chamber's version of a healthcare bill could look like.

Ready or not, Republican leaders want the Senate to vote on a healthcare bill by the end of the month.

Though it is still unclear whether such a measure can pass, party leaders are anxious to resolve the healthcare issue one way or the other by the Fourth of July recess so that they have time to focus on tax reform and other issues, Politico reports.

Senate staffers worked on writing a bill last week, and the article notes there is general agreement about the fact that subsidies need to be more generous than in the House version of the bill. But senators are still undecided about a number of key issues.

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Therefore, Republicans are planning to hold a closed-door lunch today in which GOP leaders, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will present senators with several options for what the bill could look like, according to The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.). Those options could include a longer phase-out of Medicaid expansion than the House bill outlined, as well as measures to stabilize the shaky individual markets.

Medicaid has been a key sticking point since the Senate took up healthcare reform, as some GOP senators who are from Medicaid expansion states are reluctant to repeal it. Indeed, one of those senators, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, said on Monday that she won’t commit to a bill that phases out the expansion, per Politico. And Susan Collins, R-Maine, a vocal moderate, said that at this point she doubts the chamber can reach the 50 votes needed to pass a healthcare bill.

But some Republican senators are pushing for the party to make tough decisions and finalize its work on healthcare once and for all.

“We’re ready to land this airplane,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Monday, per the WSJ. “It’s been in the air for seven years and it’s time to come in for a landing.”