Senate GOP consider 'skinny' version of health care bill

Senator Bob Corker walks to his seat for a luncheon between GOP Senators and President Donald Trump at the White House. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP File)
Senator Bob Corker walks to his seat for a luncheon between GOP Senators and President Donald Trump at the White House. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP File)

Washington - Republican senators were looking to go skinny on Wednesday as they struggled to repeal key parts of former President Barack Obama's health law.

Their definition of skinny, however, is evolving and could change many times before they pass a bill - if they pass a bill.

One version of the skinny bill would repeal mandates on individuals to buy health insurance and on large businesses to offer health insurance to employees. It would also repeal a tax on medical devices.

It would leave the rest of Obamacare intact, falling well short of Republican promises to dismantle the 2010 law.

"It's just a vehicle to get into conference [with House Republicans] so it may lead to a broader solution," Senator Lindsay Graham said on Wednesday, referring to negotiations with the House on a final bill.

The House narrowly passed its version of a health bill in May. If the Senate passes a different version, the House could simply pass it and send it to the President. Or House and Senate leaders could form a conference committee to work out the differences.

Several Republican senators said this is the path they foresee, which would put off final decisions on what the legislation would eventually look like.

"Whatever can get 50 votes will pass, then we will go to conference and the real negotiations begin," said Senator Bob Corker. 

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