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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

With all eyes on Trump trip, health-bill odds quietly waned

President Donald Trump listens in the Oval Office

President Donald Trump listens in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, June 26, 2017. Credit: AP

While President Donald Trump attended the G-20 conference in Europe last week, Republican efforts to repeal and replace the U.S. health-insurance system appeared to further unravel.

Earlier, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was poised to play a role in forging an agreement, but The Hill news site reported that Cruz’s proposal is a “nonstarter” with most of the Senate GOP.

That proposal would allow insurance companies to sell any health plans they wish as long as they also offer at least one plan that qualifies under the current law.

By late last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said if the party failed to get enough votes for a replacement bill, it should draft a bill with Democrats to keep Obamacare insurance markets afloat.

That’s not what Trump has talked about. As early as March, he suggested that the best thing might be to let Obamacare “explode,” by repealing it without replacing it. And last month he said to expect a “big surprise” on the Senate bill.

Some members faced public static in their districts during the Independence Day weekend recess. And Republican governors in Ohio and Nevada opposed the measure as hurting their states.

Seeming to sidestep McConnell, fellow Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has met with Trump on the health care snarl. Both their positions have shifted, but not enough to build consensus among Paul’s colleagues.

Never mind that Paul once referred to Trump as an “orange-faced windbag” and Trump expressed doubt that Paul had a “properly functioning brain.”

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) spoke openly in recent weeks of approving smaller changes to the system.

“I want to do it in a way that we’re not hurting anyone,” King told CNN on June 29. “And if it takes it two, three, four, five years to do it, fine. If we don’t repeal all of it, hey, that’s democracy.”

Apparently, trying to wind the clock back to 2008 on the national health law holds little appeal for the GOP. Apparently, neither does anything that could be called “socialism.”

Given how badly the GOP proposals have fared in polls, it’s looking like their choice will be to punt, putting off indefinitely anything that can be called Trumpcare.

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