Three GOP senators oppose health bill, enough to block It – Health Care News

on Jun27

27 June 2017 | 2:30 pm

(Bloomberg)—At least three Republican senators said they would vote to block the current version of their party’s health-care bill from advancing, endangering Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to repeal Obamacare.

Republican Susan Collins of Maine late Monday said she would vote against a key procedural step, joining Rand Paul of Kentucky and Dean Heller of Nevada.

A new estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, which found the bill would leave an additional 22 million Americans without health insurance in a decade, has moved McConnell further away from the 50 votes he needs to pass the measure.

“It’s a terrible bill,” Paul said. Collins, a moderate, said the CBO analysis showed the bill “doesn’t fix” Obamacare’s problems.

Republican leaders insisted they still hope to hold a final vote this week, and McConnell did get one piece of good news in the CBO estimate: an extra $200 billion in deficit savings compared to the House-passed bill.

Some or all of that funding could be used to boost programs or subsidies to help win over moderates like Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Collins, who have been seeking more help for opioid addiction, rural areas, subsidies for older people or slimmer Medicaid cuts.

At least six Republican senators have said they’re not ready to support the current version of the health-care bill, and McConnell can only afford to lose two and still pass the bill.

REGULATIONS AND FUNDING

If a deal is to be had, it would require more money for moderates, as well as more regulatory relief upfront for conservatives, who particularly want to allow states to charge people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums.

“The current draft doesn’t have the votes to pass,“ Ted Cruz of Texas said, “but I believe we can get to yes.”

Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin warned GOP leaders that holding a vote this week “would be a mistake. If Leader McConnell says failure is not an option, don’t set yourself up for failure.” He added that he didn’t think he would get enough information on the bill to be able to support advancing the bill this week, although he allowed that “lightning” could strike.



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