Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) has reported that Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) cancelled plans to vote on the latest legislative effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) after 3 members of the party announced that they would vote “no” on the Graham-Cassidy bill. According to CNN, McConnell chose to cancel the vote after meeting with the Senate Republicans and taking stock of where his colleagues were leaning. With these guys I’d never say never, but it’s hard to believe that Mitch McConnell wants yet another futile fight over Obamacare heading into the midterm elections. Hours later, he admitted defeat.
“We know what we’re against”, Graham said.
Two months ago, the vote on the original repeal bill fell one vote short when McCain joined Collins and Sen.
“It’s going along and at some point, there will be a repeal and replace”, he added. “But we’ll see whether or not that point is now or will be shortly thereafter”.
Republicans hold a 52-to-48 advantage in the Senate.
Susan Collins said she could not back the “deeply flawed” bill, despite a call from President Donald Trump and promises of money for her state.
She was the third Republican to go on the record as opposing the bill, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R- SC and Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, would have reorganized how the federal government manages health care by redirecting funds from Medicaid and other subsidies from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) into block grants that states could use for more locally based health care programs.
Collins said the short-term increase in funding was going to be overwhelmed with the long-term cuts in the Medicaid program. “It’s OK to vote”.
Further ahead, the picture of Obamacare is even less clear – but it doesn’t look likely that the GOP will be successful in repealing and replacing with the current Senate.
Losing three votes put Republicans shy of the 50 needed to pass the bill. If we can’t do it in a reconciliation vehicle this year, then maybe it’s the 2019 [budget]. Sponsors made changes over the weekend to try to win votes from fence-sitting moderates and conservatives, including Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Collins.
“[Trump] made that clear that if he didn’t get what he wanted, he was going to work with Democrats on a plan”, Democratic Rep. Richard Neal of MA said after the meeting.
But delivering on an Obamacare repeal before the 2018 midterms elections remains a high priority for many Republicans.