A Guide: Understanding Congressional Confusion on Health Care – NBCNews.com

WASHINGTON — It’s crunch time for health care in the Senate, where GOP leaders could bring up a bill soon that would partially repeal and replace Obamacare. But the process is taking place behind closed doors and it’s often hard to keep track of what’s going on amid major news developments elsewhere. Here’s what you need to know about where things stand, which lawmakers could make or break a deal, and which policies might end up in a final bill.

Remind me what’s going on with health care?

The House passed the American Health Care Act in early May in a dramatic and sudden vote after abandoning a similar effort in March. Now it’s in the hands of the Senate, which has been hammering out its own legislation with a small and secretive working group of Republicans. Because they’re using a procedure called budget reconciliation, they can pass a bill with a bare majority — meaning they don’t need votes from Democrats, none of whom are likely to support their bill. If the Senate passes something, lawmakers will have to find a way to reconcile their differences with the House to get a bill to the president’s desk.

Is the Senate going to pass a health care bill soon?

They sound close. Republican senators say they hope to pass legislation before the July 4 recess, which means a vote could come within the next two weeks. There’s no firm deadline, though, and it’s quite possible the process drags on longer. There are 52 Republican senators and they can only lose two votes, so getting to 50 won’t be easy, but members sound more optimistic that they can reach a consensus than they did just weeks ago.

So what’s in this bill they’re so close to passing?

Here’s the thing: We have no idea.

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