McConnell admits defeat on Republican healthcare bill after 2 more GOP senators come out against it – Business Insider


Mike Lee Utah
Sen. Mike
Lee.

AP

Two Republican senators effectively issued a deathblow to the
latest Senate GOP healthcare legislation on Monday night,
throwing into doubt the future of the Republican effort to repeal
and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah announced Monday
evening that they would vote against a motion to proceed to
debate on the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had sought to hold a vote
this week, but the plan was delayed in part because Sen. John
McCain was recovering from surgery to remove a blood clot.
McCain’s recovery was expected to push the vote back at least a
week.

McConnell could afford to lose only two senators and still have
the bill move on. Two other GOP lawmakers — Sens. Rand Paul of
Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine — had already expressed their
opposition, bringing the total to four.

In a statement, Moran criticized the secretive process used to
draft the bill and the fact it could roll back protections for
people with preexisting conditions.

“We must now start fresh with an open legislative process to
develop innovative solutions that provide greater personal
choice, protections for preexisting conditions, increased access,
and lower overall costs for Kansans,” Moran said.

Lee, on the other hand, said the bill did not do enough to roll
back regulations from the ACA, the law better known as Obamacare.
The Utah lawmaker supported an amendment introduced by Sen. Ted
Cruz that would have allowed insurers to sell plans that did not
adhere to two major Obamacare rules.

“In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it
doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle-class
families; nor does it create enough free space from the most
costly Obamacare regulations,” Lee said in a statement.

McConnell admitted defeat in a statement he released
Monday night:

“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and
immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be
successful.

“So, in the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the
House bill with the first amendment in order being what a
majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was
vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of Obamacare with a
two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a
patient-centered healthcare system that gives Americans access to
quality, affordable care.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also said he was
willing to work with Republicans on a bipartisan
approach:

“This second failure of Trumpcare is proof positive that the core
of this bill is unworkable. Rather than repeating the same
failed, partisan process yet again, Republicans should start from
scratch and work with Democrats on a bill that lowers premiums,
provides long-term stability to the markets, and improves our
healthcare system.”

The Better Care Reconciliation Act was
on the verge of collapse
earlier Monday, but no one wanted to
be the deciding vote to kill the bill, as evidenced by Moran and
Lee’s releasing their statements at the same time.

Reactions came in quickly Monday, with President Donald Trump
tweeting that Republicans should pass a simple repeal of
Obamacare and work on a replacement later.


Donald Trump
Donald
Trump.

Mark Wilson/Getty
Images


“Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work
on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems
will join in!” Trump tweeted.

“It’s time for a new approach when it comes to #RepealandReplace
of Obamacare,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has
introduced his own healthcare legislation, said Monday night.

McCain also issued a statement saying Republicans should restart
their attempts on healthcare using a transparent, bipartisan
process.

“The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings,
receive input from members of both parties, and heed the
recommendations of our nation’s governors so that we can produce
a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and
affordable healthcare,” McCain said.

Now that there are enough public votes to block the bill, a wave
of moderates who were against the original version of the BCRA
may emerge to come out against the newly updated bill, according
to Rick Weissenstein at the Cowen Washington Research Group.

“Over the next several days, one of two things is likely,”
Weissenstein said in a note to clients on Monday. “Either
McConnell finds a way to bring Moran and Lee back into the fold
or several more Senators join the ‘NOs’ and McConnell is forced
to pull the bill. At this point the later scenario seems more
likely and we are now ready to join our colleague Chris Krueger
in saying we think the bill is unlikely to pass.”

Another big issue for undecided lawmakers had been the release of
the Congressional Budget Office’s score for the updated BCRA. The
original score, which
estimated that 22 million more Americans
would be without
health insurance in 2026 under the BCRA than under the current
system, was a key point of contention for centrist Republicans
who opposed the first iteration of the healthcare bill.

The new score was originally set to be released Monday, but,
given the delay for the vote, it was also pushed back. It’s
unclear when it will be released, but reports suggest it could be
as late as next week.

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