Senate Republicans released their health care bill “discussion draft” Thursday to repeal and replace Obamacare. The rollout marks a big step towards achieving one of the GOP’s major goals but the plan may already be on life support. Four Republican senators already openly opposed the legislation in its current state just hours after its release.
“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Mike Lee, R-Utah; and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
With Republicans only having a 52-48 seat edge in the Senate, they can only afford to lose two votes from their party to get to a 50-50 tie, allowing Vice President Mike Pence to break any logjam. However, the four senators seem to be open to negotiations and amendments to change their initial votes.
“There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current healthcare system but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their healthcare costs,” the four explained.
The majority is still reviewing the text, but here is what the some have said so far, according to CNN:
- Sen. Susan Collins (R – Maine) — Collins’ spokeswoman says the senator will review the draft this week and into the weekend. But the centrist already has some concerns which she’ll examine, including “the forthcoming CBO analysis on the impact on insurance coverage, the effect on insurance premiums, and the changes in the Medicaid program.”
- Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada) — Heller, who faces a competitive re-election race in 2018, says he is concerned about “the bill’s impact on the Nevadans who depend on Medicaid” and will review it with Governor Sandoval to determine the bill’s impact on their state.
- Sen. Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) — For Rounds, there were some “good parts” to the bill but there needs to be more work done on group markets.
- Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) — Portman has “real concerns about the Medicaid policies” in the bill, especially the ones that affect drug treatment at a time when his state is facing an opioid epidemic.
- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) — Hatch says she will continue to review the proposal, but she acknowledges that the discussion draft “will help move the effort forward.
- Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) — Cornyn firmly believes it’s time to repeal Obamacare. She says Republican’s Healthcare bill will help “deliver access to better care at a price the American people can actually afford.”
Senate leaders aim for a vote on the US Healthcare 2017 bill before July 4.
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