Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks 2017 tour of "Romeo and Juliet“, with ASL, & Audio-described Accessible Performances

One of my favorite rites of summer in Chicago has become Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, and with the amount of people asking for information on the 2017 season, (with accessible performances), it appears on all sides of the city, I'm not alone. 

Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, with the producers, actors, stagehands working with the City of Chicago, volunteers, local Park Advisory committees, and of course sponsors continue this wonderful new tradition in Chicago. The information posted below is from the "Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier" website.
All performances are posted, with the "Access Shakespeare" schedule posted also. ENJOY! - Jim

 Dvorak park - 2013 - Jim Watkins/Ability Chicago Info photo        
THE PLAY
Join us for one of our city’s favorite summer traditions! Now in its sixth year, the FREE FOR ALL Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour heads out for another summer. This free 75-minute abridged production of Romeo and Juliet is coming to neighborhood parks across the north, west and south sides of the city. At each tour location, a specially equipped truck rolls into the park, a stage unfolds, and a company of professional actors shares Shakespeare’s story of star-crossed lovers with families and neighbors of all ages.

The feud between the Capulets and Montagues divides a city. From these two proud families, Romeo and Juliet fall in love. Can these star-crossed lovers bring peace to Verona?

The citywide tour is made possible by a renewed civic, cultural and corporate partnership between Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Boeing and BMO Harris Bank. Since the inception of the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program six years ago, more than 100,000 Chicagoans have taken advantage of free performances in their communities.


YouTube published by Chicago Shakespeare Theater
400 years after Shakespeare's death, thousands of Chicagoans came out to their neighborhood parks to celebrate what his means to them and why his work truly is for everyone.

Where and When

Navy Pier
Polk Bros Park                                                                   
Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, July 28, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.​ ​
600 E. Grand Ave.

Ellis Park
Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
3520 S. Cottage Grove Ave.

Gage Park
Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
2411 W. 55th St.

Kelvyn Park
Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
4438 W. Wrightwood Ave.

Eckhart Park
Friday, August 4, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
1330 W. Chicago Ave.

Welles Park
Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.

Columbus Park
Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
500 S. Central Ave.

Tuley Park
Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
501 E. 90th Pl.

Humboldt Park
Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, August 11, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
Near The Boathouse
1301 N. Sacramento Ave.

Frank J. Wilson Park
Saturday, August 12, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
4630 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Garfield Park
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
At Jackson and Central
100 N. Central Park Ave.

Dvorak Park
Thursday, August 17, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
1119 W. Cullerton St.

Ridge Park
Friday, August 18, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 19, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
1817 W. 96th St.

Steelworkers Park
Sunday, August 20, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
E. 87th St. at Lake Michigan

Hamilton Park
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
513 W. 72nd St.

Piotrowski Park
Thursday, August 24, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
4247 W. 31st St.

Loyola Park
Friday, August 25, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 26, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.
At Farwell Ave. Entrance
1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.

Ping Tom Memorial Park
Sunday, August 27, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
1700 S. Wentworth Ave.

Access Shakespeare

Chicago Shakespeare strives to make its performances accessible to all patrons. Our staff is ready to help in any way possible. Below are scheduled Access performances for Shakespeare in the Parks Romeo and Juliet:

 ASL Duo-interpreted Performances:

Eckhart Park
Friday, August 4, at 6:30 p.m.
1330 W. Chicago Ave.
Welles Park
Sunday, August 6, at 4:00 p.m.
2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.
Ridge Park
Saturday, August 19, at 6:30 p.m.
1817 W. 96th St.
Hamilton Park
Wednesday, August 23, at 6:30 p.m.
513 W. 72nd St.
Loyola Park
Saturday, Aug 26, at 6:30 p.m.
At Farwell Ave. Entrance
1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.
Ping Tom Park
Sunday, August 27, at 4:00 p.m.
1700 S. Wentworth Ave.
All performances interpreted by Will Lee (NIC) and Elizabeth Bartlow Breslin (CI/CT).

 Audio-described Performances:

Frank J. Wilson Park
Sunday, August 13, at 4:00 p.m.
4630 N. Milwaukee Ave
Described by Jason Harrington
No reservation is required—a section for patrons utilizing the service will be held near the stage.
Assisted listening devices are available for all Shakespeare in the Parks performances at our Welcome Table near the park entrance.
Phone: 312.595.5600
TTY: 312.595.5699
Email: access@chicagoshakes.com

Monday, July 31, 2017

Trump's Justice Dept Place's Web Accessibility on "Inactive" List

The Trump Administration’s first Unified Agenda reveals DOJ has placed web accessibility, medical equipment, and furniture rulemakings under Title II and III of the ADA on Inactive List.


Federal agencies typically provide public notice of the regulations that are under development twice a year in the Unified Regulatory Agenda. The first Agenda the Trump Administration issued, which went online July 20, 2017, contains some very noteworthy changes from the last such Agenda, issued by the Obama Administration.
For the first time, the Agenda breaks down all agency regulatory actions into three categories: active, long-term, or inactive. While the Agenda does not define these terms, it appears that only the active and long-term matters receive a description and projected deadlines. The inactive matters appear on a PDF document under a link called “2017 Inactive Actions”.
The Agenda places the Department of Justice’s rulemakings under Titles II and III of the ADA for websites, medical equipment, and furniture of public accommodations and state and local governments on this 2017 Inactive Actions list, with no further information. Thus, as we had predicted, there will be no regulations about public accommodations or state and local government websites for the foreseeable future.
In the absence of website regulations, the courts are filling the void with a patchwork of decisions that often conflict with one another. The uncertain legal landscape has fueled a surge of lawsuits and demand letters filed and sent on behalf of individuals with disabilities alleging that the websites of thousands of public accommodations are not accessible.
The placement of the website and all other pending ADA Title III rulemaking activities (medical equipment and furniture) on the Inactive list is part of the Administration’s larger effort to reduce the number of regulations in development.  The Administration touted the following accomplishments on the Agenda’s homepage:
  • Agencies withdrew 469 actions that had been proposed in the Fall 2016 Agenda;
  • Agencies reconsidered 391 active actions by reclassifying them as long-term (282) and inactive (109), allowing for further careful review;
  • Economically significant regulations fell to 58 – about 50 percent fewer than Fall 2016;
  • For the first time, agencies will post and make public their list of “inactive” rules.
Seyfarth Synopsis: By  on 

Seyfarth’s ADA Title III team consists of attorneys with extensive experience in ADA Title III litigation located in many offices across the United States, including California where plaintiffs are most active. With additional litigators admitted to practice in virtually every jurisdiction in the country, we have the resources to defend our clients against lawsuits and investigations on a nationwide basis and provide consistent and efficient service in national engagements. We have successfully defended against or resolved hundreds of lawsuits brought under Title III of the ADA and applicable state laws.
http://www.adatitleiii.com/2017/07/doj-places-website-rulemaking-on-the-inactive-list/

2 FREE Museum Day Admission Tickets from Smithsonian Magazine Saturday September 23rd 2017

Free Admission for you and one guest to over 1500 participating museums and cultural venues nationwide! Each ticket is valid for 2 FREE admissions! To receive your free Museum Day Live! ticket for two people only, register for an account. Once registered, you can request a ticket to one participating venue. The ticket will be available to download immediately up to the date of the event. You must print your ticket and present it to receive your free admission or have it accessible on your mobile device (pending museum participation).

Get 2 FREE Museum Day Admission Tickets from Smithsonian Magazine for Saturday September 23. Registration will begin on August 25, 2017.
Please check with the venue for accessible services available.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Madagascar — A Musical Adventure - ASL Duo-interpreted / Audio-described performance at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier - August 20th

A wild and wacky adventure awaits Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, Melman the Giraffe and those pesky, plotting Penguins when they stage a jailbreak from New York’s Central Park Zoo. After busting out of their home and landing on the faraway island of Madagascar, these furry friends encounter the madcap antics of the outrageous King Julien and his fellow island inhabitants in a musical celebration of friendship. The nonstop escapades and rollicking pop score will have audiences of all ages wanting to “Move It, Move It!” with their favorite characters. Share the wonder and delight of live theater with the young people in your life this summer with this family-friendly 70-minute adaptation.

Sunday, August 20, 2017 at 11:00 a.m.
Access Prices:
$31 Adults, $17 Children (12 & under)

For more information, please visit 
www.chicagoshakes.com/madagascar

Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier800 East Grand Avenue • Chicago, IL • 60611 • Box Office 312.595.5600



National Trends in Disability Employment Webinar August 4th, 2017


The next nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar Series, detailing findings of the latest Jobs Report release, announcements from the Disability Employment field, and a guest presentation by Wendy Parent-Johnson, Executive Director, Center for Disabilities, Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota, on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment First.

The next nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar will take place on Friday, August 4, 2017 at 12 noon EST. Learn more about the July Jobs Report and how it fits into longer term employment trends, hear about programs and research across the country addressing employment and disability, and listen to experts in the field.
AGENDA
• 12:00 pm: Overview of National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) Jobs Report Release – Andrew Houtenville, UNH-IOD & John O'Neill, Kessler Foundation
• 12:15 pm: News from the field of Disability Employment – Denise Rozell, AUCD
• 12:30 pm: Guest Panelist, TBD
• 12:45 pm: Open Question & Answer period for attendees     
Register for the nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar
Watch Webinar Recording
Download the Agenda & Bios
Download the Audio-Only Recording
View the Powerpoint Presentation
Download the Transcript
Read the nTIDE Report

About the nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar
The Employment Policy & Measurement Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (EPM-RRTC) at the University of New Hampshire, in partnership with Kessler Foundation and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) have launched a monthly webinar. On the first Friday of every month, corresponding with the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report, we will be offering a live broadcast via Zoom Webinar to share the results of the latest nTIDE findings. In addition, we will provide news and updates from the field of Disability Employment, as well as host an invited panelist who will discuss current disability related findings and events. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #nTIDElearn.

source: press release

Federal Complaint Exposes Philly Schools Ignoring Pervasive Bullying of Special Ed Students

Advocates say the Philadelphia School District has downplayed or ignored pervasive bullying of special education students in classrooms throughout the city, and they want federal education officials to open an investigation and order changes.

Article by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer for philly.com | July 27, 2017                                  
The Education Law Center-PA filed its complaint to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights on behalf of one district parent, but described bullying against four children. In announcing the action Thursday, the center said the problem is systemic and amounts to system-wide discrimination against children with disabilities, a group that includes thousands of Philadelphia students.

In some cases, it contends, the district failed to respond to or investigate instances of bullying, despite parent complaints over months and years.

A spokesman for the School District declined to discuss the allegations, but defended the district’s policy and response to bullying.

One parent cited in the complaint said Thursday that her 9-year-old son, a third grader with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was bullied for two full school years, targeted over his book bag and sneakers, his appearance, and his disabilities.

“My son is really terrified,” said the mother. Fearing reprisal, she asked that her name and the name of her child and his school be withheld. His name and those of other students were redacted in the publicly released complaint.

The woman said her son once suffered a concussion after classmates kicked and punched him and another time went to a hospital after students punched him in the genitals. School officials noted the bullying in their formal student evaluation but never addressed it, she said.

Once excited to go to school, the 9-year-old now shakes and vomits at the thought of returning, his mother said. He has talked about killing or harming himself. And when she recently suggested they soon would have to shop for school supplies, he panicked, crowding himself into a closet, crying.

“He said, ‘Mommy, please don’t make me go back to school,’” she said.

The boy’s experience is not isolated, said Alex Dutton, one of the lawyers who filed the complaint. Students have been called names and assaulted, suffering academic losses and emotional problems because of bullying. Parents have asked school officials to transfer their children, but have been refused. They have filled out forms airing their concerns, only to be told that their children were not being bullied.

“What we see is that parents, having tried for months to get the district to do something, make the rational choice to keep their children home on days when they are demonstrating extreme aversion to school,” Dutton said in a statement. “Rather than intervene in accordance with federal anti-discrimination laws, the district’s response was to refer these families to Truancy Court, where the problem is framed as a failure of the family. This is not only discriminatory, it erodes any semblance of trust between district staff and the families they serve.”

Jody Manning, an official with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center — an arm of a group that advocates for children with disabilities — said children with special needs are two to three times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers. In Philadelphia, more than 18,000 students are considered disabled — about 14 percent of the student body in traditional public schools.

But, Manning pointed out, “school districts actually have a heightened obligation to protect these students” because of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Lawyers in the case are asking for individual relief for every student named in the complaint, but also systemic relief. They want federal officials to order the school system to allow administrative transfers for victims, to force revisions to the district’s bullying policy that make special considerations for students with disabilities, and to provide citywide training on the subject. The Office of Civil Rights must first make a determination whether the complaint warrants a formal investigation.

Lee Whack, a spokesman for the School District, said Thursday that he could not comment on the specifics of the complaint.

But, Whack said, “we actively and consistently investigate and address instances of bullying that are reported. If a child is ever harmed we act with urgency to remedy the situation. The safety of all students is our first priority.”
http://www.philly.com/philly/education/philly-schools-ignore-pervasive-bullying-of-special-ed-students-federal-complaint-says-20170727.html
 
For More Philadelphia News visit philly.com

2017 Report on The 10 Best States for Disability Employment

Former President George H.W. Bush signed the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act into law on July 26, 1990, reshaping American civil rights to also outlaw discrimination based on disability.

By Megan Trimble, Associate Editor, Social Media | U.S. News Report | July 26, 2017                       
Employing people with disabilities is now viewed not only as a civil right, but also as vital to state workforces and the economy.

Arkansas lands chief among the 2017 U.S. News Best States ranking for disability employment, based on an analysis of each state's gap in the unemployment rate. That gap is calculated as the ratio of people in the labor force with a disability over people in the labor force without a disability. The ranking is part of U.S. News' larger Best States for Equality ranking, which includes additional factors such as education, race and gender equality.

Arkansas is home to Arkansas Employment First – a state-backed group formed to begin a "long-range planning to support a culture change where people with disabilities are recognized for the contributions and capabilities they have to offer." The program is similar to other states' Employment First initiatives. Arkansas is one of at least 33 states that has a policy directive, executive order, official statement or legislation related to the Employment First state-level policy, according to the group.

Nevada and Mississippi follow the Bear State in ranking second and third for disability employment, respectively. Conversely, while Maine is the No. 1 Best State for Equality, its gap in the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is higher than in any other state.

These are the 10 best states for disability employment:
StateDisability Employment Rate RankOverall Equality RankOverall Best States Rank
Arkansas13248
Nevada23340
Mississippi33849
West Virginia4341
Wyoming52926
Oklahoma63544
California71623
New Mexico82346
Rhode Island92521
Oregon101019
FOR THE FULL U.S NEWS REPORT, VISIT: 

"The Independence Cup" Adaptive Sailing for Sailors with Disabilities in Chicago July 27 - 30, 2017

July 2017 - Ken Kelly survived a murder attempt in British Columbia. Bob Jones endured severe injuries from a car accident in Seattle. Both men lost the use of their legs from these tragic incidents.

But over the past twenty years, Bob and Ken have competed together in dozens of disabled sailing regattas throughout the world. Both were Paralympic sailors representing the United States and Canada, and this week will team up again on Lake Michigan.

It all began for them in the Freedom 20 class of boats in Chicago, IL. “Thanks to the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, we finally discovered a boat that allowed us to move comfortably and reach equipment,” says Jones. “Now, every spring we share the now familiar phrase, ‘See you in Chicago, buddy.’”

On July 27-30, nineteen boats will compete in the Independence Cup on Burnham Harbor in Chicago. Launched by the foundation, the Independence Cup is a premier regatta for sailors with disabilities. With three classes of boats offering singlehanded, doublehanded and triplehanded racing, the program’s fleet of boats – eight Sonars, eight Freedom Independence 20’s, and four 2.4 meter sailboats – are available at no cost to competitors.

The Independence Cup is held in downtown Chicago at Burnham Harbor. ADA-accessible hotel accommodations for visiting sailors, both domestic and foreign, is made courtesy of Hilton Hotels. Cook-Illinois Corp. offers complimentary accessible ground transportation vehicles for race participants. In addition, travel grants, the annual Independence Gala dinner, special Columbia Yacht Club barbecue and the awards dinner, provide a special, affordable sailing event for all interested disabled sailors.

“My father, Judd, was seventeen-years-old when he suffered a disabling bone disease,” says foundation president, Peter Goldman. “After realizing that there were few sports that he could participate in, he discovered sailing. During the next fifty-eight years he competed successfully in many races throughout the world.”

YouTube published by Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation

For 27 years, the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation has celebrated his legacy by helping people achieve self-esteem and independence through sailing.
Source: Mary Ann O’Rourke for Scuttlebutt Sailing News | July 25, 2017
http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2017/07/25/achieving-independence-sailing/

Rod Stewart: 'I have to do something' for disabled kids and families' who Protest Trump's Healthcare Cuts

(CNN) - July 27, 2017 - Three weeks ago, a group of children with disabilities and their parents chartered a bus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and headed to Washington to protest proposed cuts in Medicaid, the government health insurance they all rely on.

By Elizabeth Cohen, Senior Medical Correspondent for CNN | July 27, 2017                              
There was one problem. The trip cost about $30,000, and they'd raised only $7,000.

"I'm so nervous," organizer Angela Lorio said as she boarded the bus with her 4-year-old son, John Paul, who has severe disabilities.

She never dreamed that relief would end up coming from Sir Rod Stewart.

The rock icon was at his home in Palm Beach, Florida, on July 10 when he watched CNN's story about the families on "Erin Burnett OutFront."

The story didn't have a happy ending. Despite their best efforts, the families did not meet with their elected officials or anyone from the Republican National Committee.

Minutes after watching the piece, Stewart emailed his manager.

"I've just seen something on CNN that's heartbreaking. It was a group of families with severely disabled children who are driving to Washington to confront about health care cuts. See if you can find out who they are," Stewart wrote. "I'd like to help in some way.""He was so touched and heartbroken and actually teary," Arnold Stiefel, Stewart's manager for more than 30 years, told CNN. "He said to me 'As a father of eight I have to do something now.' "

Stiefel wrote back to Stewart: "I can't think of a better cause. By all means."

Stewart's team contacted Lorio and her friend Jessica Michot, co-founders of Trach Mommas of Louisiana, and wrote them a check that covered the remaining cost of the trip.

Lorio kept a video diary as she deposited "the biggest check of her life" Monday afternoon.

"This is amazing!" she said. "We love you, Rod -- thank you so, so much!"

In one of Stewart's most famous songs, "Forever Young," he sings: "May the good Lord be with you down every road you roam." He ended his concert Tuesday night at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, with a video tribute to the families who took the road trip.

"Some of you may know that I live in America and pay my taxes here," the British singer said. "I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but I am a father."

Now Lorio looks back at how the bus trip almost didn't happen.

Over the July 4 holiday weekend, families from the Trach Mommas group had participated in protests in Baton Rouge. When they felt that lawmakers hadn't heard their voices, Lorio's husband, Neal, suggested traveling to Washington.

"I was like 'ha, ha, ha,' " she said.

The next day, Lorio and Michot attended the funeral of a 2-year-old girl, the daughter of one of the Trach Mommas.

The day after that, while in church, Lorio heard "that little voice of God" telling her to organize the trip.

"I was like -- seriously? God, if you want this to happen, you're going to have to do this for us," she said.

She never dreamed that Rod Stewart, whose music she'd listened to since she was a little girl, would be the one to step in.
"It was beyond our wildest dreams -- not just anybody paid for it, but Rod Stewart!" she said. "God always hears your prayers and answers them -- they just might not be answered in the way that you expect."
Copyright 2017 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/27/health/rod-stewart-disabled-kids/index.html

PRES. TRUMP & GOP REELING AFTER SENATE DEFEAT OF REPEAL OF 'OBAMACARE'

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Dealing a serious blow to President Donald Trump's agenda, the Senate early Friday rejected a measure to repeal parts of former President Barack Obama's health care law after a night of high suspense in the U.S. Capitol.

Article by ERICA WERNER AND ALAN FRAM for the ASSOCIATED PRESS                          
Unable to pass even a so-called "skinny repeal," it was unclear if Senate Republicans could advance any health bill despite seven years of promises to repeal "Obamacare."

"This is clearly a disappointing moment," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "I regret that our efforts were not enough, this time."

"It's time to move on," he said. The vote was 49-51 with three Republicans joining all Democrats in voting 'no.'

McConnell put the health bill on hold and announced that the Senate would move onto other legislation next week.

Trump responded on Twitter: "3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!"

A key vote to defeat the measure was cast by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who returned to the Senate this week after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer. In an impassioned speech the day he returned, McCain had called for bipartisanship on major issues of national concern, and a return to the "regular order" of legislating by committee.

Two other Republicans - Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine - joined McCain and all Democrats to reject the amendment, which would have repealed a mandate that most individuals get health insurance and would have suspended a requirement that large companies provide coverage to their employees. It would have also suspended a tax on medical devices and denied funding to Planned Parenthood for a year.

On Twitter, McCain said the repeal bill "fell short of our promise to repeal & replace Obamacare w/ meaningful reform," adding, "I hope we can rely on humility, cooperation & dependence on each other to better serve the people who elected us."

The amendment was a last resort for Senate Republicans to pass something - anything - to trigger negotiations with the House.

"It's time to turn the page," said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York. "We are not celebrating. We are relieved."

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said in a statement that the Trump administration would pursue its health care goals through regulation. "This effort will continue," Price said. But insurers, hospitals, doctors, and consumer groups are pressing the administration to guarantee billions of dollars in disputed subsidies to help stabilize insurance markets around the country.

Buoyed by a signal from House Speaker Paul Ryan, McConnell had introduced a pared-down health care bill late Thursday that he hoped would keep alive Republican ambitions to repeal "Obamacare."

McConnell called his measure the Health Care Freedom Act. It was not intended to become law, but to open a path for a House-Senate conference committee to try to work out comprehensive legislation Congress could pass and send to Trump.

The Congressional Budget Office said the amendment would have increased the number of uninsured people by 16 million, the same problem that vexed all the "repeal and replace" measures Republicans have offered. Obama's law extended coverage to some 20 million people, reducing the nation's uninsured rate to a historic low of around 9 percent.

Still, Ryan, R-Wis., had seemingly opened a path for McConnell earlier Thursday by signaling a willingness to negotiate a more comprehensive bill with the Senate. Some Republican senators had been concerned that the House would simply pass McConnell's "skinny bill" and send it to Trump. That would have sent a shock wave through health insurance markets, spiking premiums.

Ryan sent senators a statement saying that if "moving forward" requires talks with the Senate, the House would be "willing" to do so. But shortly afterward, his words received varied responses from three GOP senators who'd insisted on a clear commitment from Ryan.

"Not sufficient," said McCain, who returned to the Capitol Tuesday. The 80-year-old McCain had been home in Arizona trying to decide on treatment options for brain cancer.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., initially said "not yet" when asked if he was ready to vote for the scaled-back Senate bill. But later, he told reporters that Ryan had assured him and others in a phone conversation that the House would hold talks with the Senate.

"I feel comfortable personally. I know Paul; he's a man of his word," said Graham.

As the convoluted developments played out, the slender 52-48 GOP majority was divided among itself over what it could agree to. Democrats were unanimously opposed.

After a comprehensive "repeal and replace" bill failed on the Senate floor, and a straight-up repeal failed too, McConnell and his top lieutenants turned toward the "skinny repeal."

It was to have been the ticket to negotiations with the House, which had passed its own legislation in May.

Opponents mobilized quickly against McConnell's new strategy.

The insurance company lobby group, America's Health Insurance Plans, wrote to Senate leaders Thursday saying that ending Obama's requirement that people buy insurance without strengthening insurance markets would produce "higher premiums, fewer choices for consumers and fewer people covered next year."

And a bipartisan group of governors including John Kasich of Ohio and Brian Sandoval of Nevada also announced against it. So did the American Medical Association.

Numerous polls had shown little public support for the GOP's earlier proposals to repeal and replace Obama's law. A recent AP-NORC poll found only 22 percent of the public backing the Republican approach, while 51 percent were opposed.

In the end the misgivings of a few Republican senators derailed the GOP's seven-year quest to roll back "Obamacare." It remains to be seen whether a bipartisan deal can now be reached to stabilize insurance markets that have been rattled by rising premiums and insurer exits.

The dizzying series of legislative maneuvers this week left even veteran senators puzzled.

"We're in the twilight zone of legislating," said Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.
----
Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Stephen Ohlemacher and Kevin Freking contributed to this report.
© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.