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Will These Two Deals Lead to Obamacare Repeal?

As the Senate GOP seeks to pass Obamacare repeal and replacement, two deals – one for moderates, and one for conservatives – may get them across the finish line.

The Affordable Care Act

The Senate GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is still in peril, with as many as nine senators opposed (leadership can only afford to lose two votes). Two emerging deals, though, may pick up seven or more of those nine needed to pass the Senate GOP’s bill.

FOR MODERATES

One deal, which would keep a major Obamacare tax instead of repealing it, is meant to woo moderates like Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Dean Heller (R-NV). The Associated Press (AP) explained on Friday:

Under Corker’s proposal, the bill would retain Obama’s 3.8 percent tax increase on investment income for married couples making more than $250,000 a year and individuals making more than $125,000. Keeping that increase would save $172 billion over 10 years, and moderates want to use that money to make coverage more affordable for poorer consumers.

As AP noted, the idea behind the deal is the extra $172 billion would be spent on making health insurance more affordable for low-income Americans, or on keeping more of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

FOR CONSERVATIVES

On the regulatory side of Obamacare repeal is a proposal floated by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that could win over conservatives like Cruz, Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY). From the Washington Examiner:

Republican leaders are strongly considering an amendment from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to let insurers sell plans that don’t comply with Obamacare’s insurance mandates as long as they sell some plans that do.

The idea behind the amendment is to address conservative concerns that the bill doesn’t repeal enough of Obamacare’s insurer mandates that conservatives say are driving up premiums.

FOR DEMOCRATS?

Meanwhile, at least two senators from opposite sides of the aisle – Collins and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) – are making noise on bipartisan fixes to Obamacare. Several Democrats have acknowledged that the now-seven-year-old health law has serious flaws that need fixing.