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Senate GOP Tries For Revamped Health Care Bill

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Image credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP Image credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Senate Republicans are aiming to put out a revised health care bill by the end of the week, a Senate GOP aide familiar with negotiations confirmed Monday to CBS News.

Members of the Senate Republican Conference could be briefed on the process Tuesday when they meet for a closed-door lunch.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) would likely release a cost estimate of the revamped measure before a vote takes place, as a number of senators made clear that this will be a key factor in their decision about whether or not to support the measure. The nonpartisan budget scorekeeper was also reportedly asked to score a proposal floated by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow any health insurance company to offer insurance plans that don't comply with Obamacare in a state if they're offering at least one that does comply with the health care law.

If the bill comes out by the end of this week, a floor vote could take place as early as next week. Republicans need 51 votes to pass the legislation in the Senate, but one vote can be Vice President Mike Pence's tie-breaking vote. And assuming all Democrats vote against it, Republicans can only afford two defections. The Senate currently has 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats.

At least nine Senate Republicans came out against the original version of the bill, according to CBS News’ whip count.

President Trump seemed to suggest on Monday that Congress should postpone or cancel its annual August recess until they pass a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

A group of Senators have called for the cancellation of August recess, as has the conservative Freedom Caucus in the House, but the likelihood of leadership giving into their request is slim.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, was forced to postpone a vote the original GOP Senate health care plan because he lacked the votes to pass it. During a Rotary Club lunch in Glasgow, Kentucky on Thursday, McConnell seemed to admit Republicans might be unable to overcome his party's divisions, hinting that a bipartisan compromise may be inevitable.

"If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private health insurance market must occur," McConnell said, according to the Associated Press, after he was asked if he envisioned needing bipartisan cooperation to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). "No action is not an alternative," McConnell added. "We've got the insurance markets imploding all over the country, including in this state."

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