GOP health bill gets tougher on Medicaid

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It was unclear at press time whether Senate Republicans could reach 50 votes needed for passage of a controversial healthcare bill that would involve deep long-term cuts to Medicaid. 

Four GOP Senators immediately came out and said they could not support the bill in the form debuted June 22.  Earlier, at least seven GOP members had worried openly about rolling back a program for low-income individuals. Republicans could lose only two and still pass it. 

The timing left plenty of wiggle and negotiating room to get a deal done by the July 4 recess deadline Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had given.

 As rumored, the Senate got tougher on Medicaid funding — precisely opposite of what many GOP members had forecast or demanded after the House passed the American Health Care Act in May. 

That bill calls for more than $800 billion reduced from previous  Medicaid levels. 

The Senate's cuts would grow through converting Medicaid to a per-capita funding system and tie into the Consumer-Price Index for urban consumers, a slower-growing index, according to national reports.