Health care battle: Senate Democrats obstruct GOP process

By Health CareFOXBusiness

With a self-imposed July 4 deadline, the senate is under the gun to get a health reform bill written quickly, but Democrats are plotting ways to slow down the senate action to protest what they say is a closed door process.

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Republican sources on Capitol Hill today are expressing confidence their bill will be put forward next week.

The 13 senators crafting the bill are already working with the congressional budget office to devise a plan that can meet the strict requirements of reconciliation -- which means it can't bust the budget.

As a result, it's likely that not all of the 21 taxes imposed by Obamacare will be removed. Most likely to stay -- the 0.9 percent Medicare payroll tax and the 3.8 percent surtax on investment income, both imposed on wealthy taxpayers. Keeping those taxes will make it easier for the Senate to defend itself from Democratic objections that the bill is a boon to the one percent. Other taxes, though, like the tax on medical equipment makers and the tax on health care insurers are likely to be jettisoned.

Also watch for the Medicaid expansion to be phased out more slowly than the steep cliff proposed by House Republicans.

But Democrats say not so fast. According to a senior democratic aide, tonight senate democrats will slow the process by debating health care late into the evening in a series of speeches and attempt to force the health care bill to committee.

Even if Senate Republicans are successful in getting the bill out for a vote, they still face an uphill battle getting it passed. The GOP's majority in the Senate is razor thin -- at 52 to 48.

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