After rumors that Republicans have been hiding their Affordable Care Act repeal and replacement bill somewhere in Congress in order to keep it out of prying Democratic eyes, a Democratic senator is engaging in some good old fashioned showmanship.
If the actual bill going to markup is like the draft that went public, then we can expect some popular provisions of the ACA - including requiring all insurers to cover 10 essential benefits, prohibitions on lifetime limits for care, and dependent coverage extending until age 26 - to stay in place.
House Republicans were allowed to review the latest version of the overhaul measure Thursday - but only in a dedicated reading room, and they weren't given copies to take with them, said one Republican lawmaker and a committee aide.
Details of the bill may not be public for some time.
Republican senator Rand Paul has said his own party's actions are "unacceptable" after he claimed it was holding a congressional Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill "under lock and key". But the real conservative angst involves the other end of the income spectrum, where people without income-tax liability would be given "refundable" tax credits - i.e., a check from the IRS.
"We're on a treasure hunt, I guess", said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from IL.
Indeed Obamacare enrollment climbed 24 percent in Utah despite calls to repeal and replace from Republicans.
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According to reports, the House bill is being kept in a special viewing room where a select group of lawmakers are being allowed to review its contents.
Privately, senior Republican lawmakers and staff are more blunt. The effort to repeal the ACA is the first major test of whether they can harness the energy they used to oppose the law to actually undo it - or whether ideological divisions will sink the effort. "That's the bill we're working on right now, that's the bill we're working on with the Trump administration". "With legislation that would drastically alter health coverage for Americans, robust and transparent discussions are even more critical, as the lives and wellbeing of millions of Americans families hang in the balance". "So if he feels like he needs more information I'll be happy to give it to him".
The 2015 bill also repealed the individual and employer mandates, tax credits, and defunded Planned Parenthood.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is planning a markup on the draft legislation next week, possibly on March 8.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, of Texas, told reporters that there in fact was no final bill. It's where Walden's personal office and the Energy and Commerce Committee offices are. Democrats voiced similar complaints.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), hearing the room number, made a decision to cross the dome and try to read the bill himself, but staffers wouldn't let him in.
"If you recall where Obamacare was passed in 2009, 2010, Nancy Pelosi said we'll know what's in it after we pass it".