Latest health care bill collapses following defections from 2 GOP senators

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 18, 2017

Seyfarth Synopsis: The epicenter of the health care repeal and replace effort has moved from the House of Representatives to the Senate.

Paul's objection is that the BCRA does not go far enough in eliminating Obamacare's mandates, while Collins is anxious about the plan to phase out Medicaid expansion, which the BCRA would do over a seven-year period.

So when McCain, 80, announced that doctors in Phoenix removed a five-centimeter (two-inch) blood clot above his eye - a procedure that experts told U.S. media might be more serious than initially thought - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would "defer" the upcoming vote on the bill by at least a week. He is expected to be out for the week, recovering in Arizona.

McConnell made the decision to delay consideration of the bill due to McCain's absence. Sens. Susan Collins of ME and Rand Paul of Kentucky had already announced their opposition to the bill.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) learned from TPM last week that Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was telling moderate Republican senators in closed-door meetings that a future Congress and president will not let the bill's harshest cuts to Medicaid go into effect. So far, Sen. Susan Collins of ME and Sen.

Pence's broad defense of the bill included this line: "President Trump and I believe the Senate health care bill strengthens and secures Medicaid for the neediest in our society, and this bill puts this vital American program on a path to long-term sustainability".

"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, referring to the current bill. Jeff Flake says she's met with White House officials about the campaign.

The Republican senator from Arizona is recovering from brain surgery performed Friday to remove a almost 2-inch blood clot from above his left eye. McConnell's announcement came after McCain's office disclosed that he had undergone surgery, and doctors had advised him to stay in Arizona this week.

In fact, an ongoing CNN whip count showed only a handful of Republicans fully supporting the bill, many of them members of the elected leadership and chairmen of other committees negotiating the bill.

At this point it is honestly anyone's guess what happens with American health care in the coming weeks.

Asked this month about the chances for a quick agreement among Republican senators on a bill, McCain said that "pigs could fly". And he reiterated Monday that his goal for health care "remains what it had been for a long time: To repeal and replace it".

If the 50 votes are not there, Senator Mitch McConnell may be forced to work with Democrats to get a meaningful reform effort off the ground.

Cornyn acknowledged that if the Senate is unable to attract enough GOP votes that it will "keep trying" but will eventually have to come up with a different plan.

She said Trump had "been monitoring what's going on with health care", but could not "speak to any private conversions" Trump "may or may not have had".

CBO's score of the original plan projected that 22 million more people would without health insurance over the next decade.

There is little institutional support for the bill, and even less for an amendment introduced by Senator Ted Cruz that would allow insurers to offer bare-bones plans.

In Phoenix, Mayo Clinic Hospital doctors said McCain underwent a "minimally invasive" procedure to remove the almost 2-inch (5-centimeter) clot and that the surgery went "very well", a hospital statement said.

The 2008 Republican presidential nominee, McCain was resting comfortably at home in good condition after Friday's operation, his office said.

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