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Democrats criticize Senate’s all-male healthcare group | Reuters

By John Whitesides and Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON U.S. Democrats on Sunday criticized the shortage of women on a working group within the Republican-led Senate that may craft a plan to move laws to repeal and substitute Obamacare.

As the Senate begins to wrestle with a Republican healthcare invoice narrowly accredited by the House of Representatives final week, senators questioned why the 13-member working group put collectively by Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell doesn’t embrace any of the chamber’s 5 Republican women.

“Women’s health is a big part of this and women are a majority of the population, and their health interests deserve to be contemplated in any reform,” Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California stated on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington wrote on Twitter: “It matters to have women at the table — and it matters when they aren’t.”

Republicans pushed their healthcare restructuring via the House on a 217-213 vote, handing President Donald Trump his first main legislative success.

But the invoice faces an unsure future within the Senate, the place Republicans have a slender majority and a number of other members have advised they’ll develop their very own plans. Democrats are united in opposition to the House invoice.

Trump pledged on Sunday that the trouble to intestine former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare regulation would achieve success.

“Republican Senators will not let the American People down!,” he wrote on Twitter. “ObamaCare premiums and deductibles are way up-it was a lie and it is dead!”

The Senate’s healthcare working group consists of the Republican management, a number of committee chairmen and a mixture of conservatives similar to Ted Cruz of Texas and extra average Republicans from politically essential swing states akin to Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Critics stated the group’s lack of variety would get rid of essential viewpoints.

“The GOP is crafting policy on an issue that directly impacts women without including a single woman in the process. It’s wrong,” Democratic Senator Kamala Harris of California wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

Don Stewart, a senior aide to McConnell, stated critics have been getting “hung up on process” whereas ignoring the issues of Obamacare resembling greater prices and restricted decisions.

“So you can get caught up in process, or you can focus on the actual reality,” Stewart stated in an e mail on Sunday.

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who has been engaged on her personal healthcare plan, stated she was reaching out to average Democrats to attempt to discover widespread floor. She didn’t criticize the working group’s all-male make-up however stated she needed to see a broader effort to switch Obama’s 2010 healthcare regulation.

“I would like to see us put together a bipartisan group to solve this problem, of Democrats who acknowledge there are problems with the current law, that it is not working well in several states, and Republicans who also want to make sure that we’re not reducing coverage and we’re giving flexibility,” Collins stated on ABC’s “This Week.”


Senators have questioned features of the House invoice, which might slash funding for Medicaid, this system that gives insurance coverage for the poor, and roll again a lot of its enlargement in the course of the Obama administration.

It additionally would permit states to choose out of some present protections for individuals with pre-existing health circumstances. While insurers couldn’t deny insurance coverage due to such circumstances, they might be allowed to determine how a lot to cost.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, probably the most average Democrats within the Senate, stated his state “gets absolutely slammed” within the House invoice as a result of it has numerous aged residents and other people with pre-existing circumstances.

“I just want to work and sit down and try to get something done, but no one’s asked us,” he stated on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program. “Our congressional delegation says, ‘don’t worry, the Senate will fix it.’ And no one has asked any Democrat. And I am the most centrist.”

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus stated the White House wouldn’t dictate the method.

“I think we want to let them do their work, let them work this out. They are all very mature. They all know what is going on. They all know the commitments we have made to the American people to repeal and replace a failing program in Obamacare,” he stated on the “Fox News Sunday” program.

(Additional reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Caren Bohan and Paul Simao)

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