While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to present the actual bill, he's started the legislative process and is ready to bring it to the floor by the end of June—without hearings, without public scrutiny, and without any input whatsoever from Democrats. He probably won't even let the Democrats see it before it comes up. That means one of two things—he was honest when he said he'd bring it whether he had the votes or not, or he has the votes. Knowing that Mitch McConnell is rarely honest, the only conclusion can be is that he thinks he's got the votes.
That's reinforced by the news that Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV)—the most vulnerable Senate Republican up in 2018—has signed off on a Medicaid proposal.
"I support seven, I support seven," Heller told reporters on his way into a healthcare working group meeting in the Capitol. "So do a number of us, including [Sen. Rob] Portman [R-Ohio] and others who have been working on this."
Heller's comments indicate that he is willing to end the extra federal funding for Medicaid expansion, as long as it is on a slow enough timetable. His comments, and those of other more centrist GOP senators, could indicate that Republicans can find some compromise on the Medicaid issue, one of their biggest obstacles to passing an ObamaCare repeal bill.
With the moderates there—and they have signed on to the idea, that's all McConnell really needs. But that doesn't mean those so-called moderates aren't still persuadable—more than 275,000 people gained Medicaid coverage in Nevada alone through the Affordable Care Act. Heller is talking about kicking them out of their insurance, and it isn't going to make much of a difference to them if it happens in three years or seven. He's still taking it away.
McConnell might be promising him a lot of things to get his vote on this, things ostensibly for his state. But nothing McConnell can offer can compare to the health and the lives of three-quarters of a million people.