Sen. John Thune (R-SD) was on the PBS Newshour on Wednesday where he was asked by Judy Woodruff about the status of the Senate's negotiations with other Republicans over their Healthcare Bill. They were asked about the President promising reporters that there would be a big surprise coming soon, to which Sen. Thune claimed that he didn't know what that would be. It's been reported that the Senate had asked the President to not get involved with their legislation as he had with the Houses' American Health Care Act (AHCA).

Unconventional legislation

Senate Republicans have been working in secret after receiving the AHCA from the House, saying they would essentially rewrite their own bill due to the fact that the one they had received from the House was incoherent.

It also had not received a score by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) before it was even passed which is generally a requirement. Until last Thursday, the details of the bill were closely held by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. As the date to reveal the bill neared, there were reports of technicalities around a provision of abortion which risked losing more conservatives.

Senators still not on board with new bill

Even more Republicans publicly said that they would not vote for the bill for a variety of reasons, some of the more popular among them being Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who said that it was not a full repeal of Obamacare, which is still the law of the land, as House Speaker Paul Ryan said earlier in the year. McConnell was trying to get a vote on their new Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) before the Senate would break for July 4, but with reports of the tweaks to the bill on Monday, it seemed like certainty that even more Republicans would vote no.

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It was also reported that some would even block it from being mentioned on the Senate floor.

McConnell announced that they would hold off a vote until after the recess but reportedly returned to their secret talks to find some consensus on what they could pass. Thune said that they were still having conversations with a Friday deadline while they got another score by the CBO. It was reported that during the rewriting of the BCRA, that senators were able to get CBO scoring for different provisions and amendments along the way. The conflicts within the party are with the moderates -- who are concerned about changes to Medicaid -- and those who are farther to the extreme aka more "conservative" who feel the bill is too much like the ACA.

Thune's involvement in BCRA

Woodruff asked Thune about their new bill and how it would cover fewer people than the ACA already does in Thune's own state of South Dakota. After she informed him that the Center for American Progress took their CBO data scores and broke them down state-by-state saying that 64 thousand fewer South Dakotans would be covered by their bill by 2026.

Thune said that he wasn't aware how they came to those numbers as they weren't an expansion state. He said that currently, they're able to keep Medicaid cost-effective and efficient. He acknowledged that the President wants a result and engaged with trying to get senators to vote on it. Sen. Thune is the third-ranking Republican in the Senate and chairman of the Republican Conference. Here is that interview with the PBS Newshour.