Senate health care bill fails to gain support
WASHINGTON — The Senate Republican health care bill is no longer on the table after two GOP senators said they would not support the measure overnight.
Utah’s Mike Lee and Jerry Moran of Kansas sealed the measure’s doom late Monday when each announced they would vote “no” in an initial, critical vote that had been expected as soon as next week.
Their announcement meant that at least four of the 52 GOP senators were ready to block the measure – two more than Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had to spare in the face of a wall of Democratic opposition.
“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” McConnell said in a late evening statement.
It was the second setback on the issue in three weeks for McConnell.
Now, McConnell said, the Senate would vote on a measure the GOP-run Congress approved in 2015, only to be vetoed by former President Barack Obama – a bill repealing much of Obama’s statute, with a two-year delay designed to give lawmakers time to enact a replacement.
President Donald Trump embraced that idea last month after an initial version of McConnell’s bill collapsed due under Republican divisions, and did so again late Monday.
“Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” President Trump tweeted.
McConnell’s failed bill would have left 22 million uninsured by 2026, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, a number that many Republicans found unpalatable.
But the vetoed 2015 measure would be even worse, the budget office said last January, producing 32 million additional uninsured people by 2026.