Dems' motions, speeches knock GOP health bill for secrecy

Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell of Ky. walks from his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democrats plan to slow the Senate’s work force votes and make late-night speeches in an effort to focus attenti

Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, said in a speech from the Senate floor Monday night.

While the Senate is crafting its own legislation, the House-passed American Health Care Act is viewed unfavorably by a majority of Americans - 55 percent - compared with 31 percent who viewed it favorably, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released in May. GOP leaders in the Senate had not planned to hold public hearings on the bill, a move which has been highly criticized by Democrats and other supporters of Obamacare.

The initiative comes amid a broader push by allied advocacy groups to try to pressure Republican senators not to vote for the bill, which aims to repeal and replace key parts of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. "Republicans are drafting this bill in secret because they're ashamed of it, plain and simple".

"If Republicans won't relent and debate their health care bill in the open for the American people to see, then they shouldn't expect business as usual in the Senate", said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer in a statement.

On Twitter, response has been typically divided. It means the bill likely won't go to committee or get any hearings.

Professor Ross Baker of Rutgers University deemed the GOP process of drafting the health care bill in closed meetings and keeping its details a secret from colleagues unprecedented. As Politico noted, while some Democrats in the Senate are planning to block lengthy committee hearings on Tuesday, it's not clear whether the whole of the party is committed to maintaining the standoff beyond the start of the week. Richard Blumenthal characterized as the "unconscionable and reprehensible" secrecy with which they say the proposed bill is being debated, some sarcastically drawing parallels between the proposed legislation and President Trump's unreleased tax returns. Majority say they don't know what shape the bill is taking and some have complained about the tightly controlled effort.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said that he's complained to leadership about the lack of transparency.

"Democrats are trying to prevent Congress from acting", McConnell said on the floor Monday night. "Since our leader has said that there will be plenty of time to make amendments, you need time to prepare those amendments". "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it ..."

Critics have estimated that the House bill would curtail Medicaid by some $800 billion, and some Republican senators from states where Medicaid was expanded under Obama have expressed concern about passing legislation that slashes aid to thousands of constituents.

Still, Senate Republicans badly want to take up other priorities such as overhauling the country's tax code.

There is much about Trumpcare that we don't know, but what we do know is troubling: Millions of Americans will lose their health insurance, those who keep their insurance will pay more and have less assistance affording it, Medicaid will face drastic cuts, and essential benefits will be gutted.

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