The Senate’s GOP leadership is pushing for changes to the Senate health care overhaul to ensure that the legislation doesn’t leave too many people without health coverage.
The push for the changes came as Democrats pressed for changes that could give states more leeway to offer people coverage.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that the changes will be made available for a vote as early as Friday.
“We’re working on these changes now and we’re working with the [Senate Minority Leader] Harry Reid,” McConnell told reporters.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has called on the GOP leadership to make the changes and the Senate voted Friday on amendments to the bill that would allow states to offer expanded health insurance options.
The amendments are needed because the Senate bill leaves in place the ACA’s requirement that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions.
The legislation would also allow states, which have limited flexibility in how they provide coverage to people with preexisting conditions, to opt out of the Medicaid expansion.
“The Senate bill is a good start.
But it’s a step in the wrong direction,” said Mark J. Rozell, senior vice president at the Commonwealth Fund, a health policy research firm.
“This legislation leaves too many Americans out in the cold.
We need to make sure this bill makes sure that the insurance market is fair and affordable to all Americans.”
Sen. Patty Murray (D, Wash.), the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said on Thursday that it was critical to make changes to keep people with existing conditions covered.
The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation as early Friday morning.
Republicans have been eager to get a bill passed, and they hope to move it on to President Donald Trump’s desk before the end of the week.
The House passed the GOP’s health bill Thursday afternoon.
The measure would cut Medicaid spending by $880 billion over 10 years and eliminate subsidies for individuals earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
It would also repeal the ACA requirement that all health insurance plans cover the full cost of a doctor’s visit and would leave the ACA unchanged.
The bill would end a federal mandate that insurers provide affordable coverage to all individuals and small businesses and instead provide tax credits to lower-income individuals to purchase insurance.
The White House has said the bill is more generous to individuals and would offer tax credits for purchasing coverage.