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health care

Republicans' complex health care calculations are coming down to simple math.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs 50 of the chamber's 52 Republicans to vote for a bill that aims to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act and drastically reshape the Medicaid system. McConnell's office is planning to bring the bill up for a vote next week.

There's a chance Republicans wouldn't be so close to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act if former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania hadn't dropped into the Capitol barbershop this spring.

"I was up on the Hill, I happened to just go by the barbershop to see if I could get a haircut, and Lindsey was in the chair," Santorum said. "And Lindsey asked me what I was doing, and I thought to myself, 'Well, let me just bounce it off Lindsey.' "

It wasn't that long ago that the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act died once and for all in the Senate.

The Capitol Hill health care fight sure seemed dead. After Republican proposals to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, failed to pass a Republican-controlled Congress, lawmakers looked poised to move on to other topics, like a tax overhaul. But this week, proposals from both the left and the right are grabbing headlines.

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

From the temporarily delayed Senate Bill 4, which cracks down on "sanctuary cities," to the decision to wind down a program that gives work permits to young people living in the country illegally, undocumented families in Texas are on edge.

Courtesy of Mi Habana

Depending on who you ask, there are many ways to cure a cold. Some people turn to brand-name cough syrup and others, to herbal teas.

In Texas, there’s a long tradition of combining both modern and alternative medicine — a tradition that patients rarely discuss with their doctors.

The Senate is again trying to tackle the politics of health care. Rather than going for sweeping changes, lawmakers are acting more like handymen this time, looking for tweaks and fixes that will make the system that's already in place work better.

In the wake of congressional Republicans' failure to pass a health care bill, two governors from different parties are going to bring their own ideas to Washington.

Senate Republicans have at least narrowed the options on what comes next for the Affordable Care Act — casting two separate votes since Tuesday that knocked out a "repeal-only" proposal and rejected a plan for replacement.

So, as lawmakers resume debate on Thursday, they will be staring at basically one possibility: a so-called "skinny repeal" that would surgically remove some key provisions from Obamacare, while leaving the rest intact — at least for now.

Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET

Hours after a replacement for the Affordable Care Act was all but scuttled by a clutch of Senate Republicans, three lawmakers appear to have doomed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's Plan B: Repeal the Affordable Care Act without replacing it.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

The defeat of the GOP Senate health care bill is a major blow to all Republicans involved.

President Trump, whose approval rating is lower than any recent president this early in his term, is now staring at an agenda imperiled. Despite his boasts, he has achieved little of significance through Congress. That failure is compounded by the fact that his party controls both chambers.

The Senate will postpone its consideration of the GOP bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act until Sen. John McCain returns to Washington.

The Republican senator from Arizona is recovering from brain surgery performed Friday to remove a nearly 2-inch blood clot from above his left eye. The surgery was described as a "minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision."

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Senate Republicans Thursday unveiled their revised plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. This version of the Better Care Reconciliation is similar to the proposal last month. That version of the bill didn't gain enough support among lawmakers to bring to a vote. 

From Texas Standard:

As Senate Republican leaders reveal another version of their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, taking politics out of the health care picture may be just the medicine needed. Political noise aside, the fact remains that health care costs are still too high, and many individuals can’t afford coverage. Experts say the political debate is essentially moot until the financial barriers to care are sorted out.

Ayan Mittra / The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON – At first blush on Thursday, Senate Republicans were no closer to passing a new health care bill than they were two weeks ago when their first bill collapsed. 

Updated 6:56 p.m. ET

Senate Republicans on Thursday released a revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., plans to release an updated Republican health care bill on Thursday and is delaying the body's annual August recess by two weeks in an effort to generate momentum for the beleaguered legislation.

NPR

This week, Republicans in Congress will try to rally votes behind a bill that proposes major changes to the way Americans get health care and how much they pay. 

Use this Q&A to explore how the bills would affect you.

It was about a year ago that Ornella Mouketou walked into the emergency room at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., and told them she wanted to end her life.

She was in her early 20s, unemployed and depressed.

"I was just walking around endlessly. I was walking around parks, and I was just crying all the time," she says. "It was like an empty black hole."

At an event Wednesday night, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was met by about 150 protesters who oppose the Senate's efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. On a hot evening, they stood outside a hotel in McKinney, a north Dallas suburb, shouting "shame on Ted" and "save Medicaid."

The by-invitation, town hall-style event was held one day after the senator's appearance in McAllen was disrupted by protesters concerned about health care as well as immigration.

From Texas Standard:

For years, Texas lawmakers have been trying to stem the bleeding of the state's health care plan for retired teachers. The plan has been at risk of going unfunded for nearly two decades because of demographic and economic changes, including more retirees and rising health care costs. During this year's legislative session, lawmakers took steps to make up for the plan's $1 billion shortfall  .

From Texas Standard:

The week began with expectations that by now, the Senate would be preparing for a vote on the GOP health care plan – perhaps over the holiday weekend. But that's not going to happen because Republican leaders couldn't muster the votes.

Ayan Mittra / The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is pushing hard to keep the Senate health care bill's prospects alive, amid a rollercoaster week at the U.S. Capitol. 

One of the structures that has allowed more than 960,000 Texans to gain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act would be a thing of the past under the Senate repeal bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

Shutterstock

A vote on the Senate's health care bill has been delayed until after the July 4 recess. If the bill is passed, it will roll back programs like Medicaid and Medicare, and the Congressional Budget Office predicts 22 million more people will be uninsured by 2026.

Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET

Americans broadly disapprove of the Senate GOP's health care bill, and they're unhappy with how Republicans are handling the efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

The Senate’s proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act has “declared war on people with disabilities of all ages,” a disability rights advocate said Monday after the Congressional Budget Office released a report scoring the legislation.

Medicaid is the government health care program for the poor.

That's the shorthand explanation. But Medicaid is so much more than that — which is why it has become the focal point of the battle in Washington to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

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