WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed to wait until the Congressional Budget Office score was released to bring the Senate’s Obamacare replacement to the floor, and now that the CBO has weighed in enough Republicans to halt the legislation have said they will vote against moving the bill forward.
The CBO estimated in its report released today that the Senate healthcare bill, released last week, would increase the number of uninsured by 22 million in 2026, compared to 23 million in the last version of the House healthcare legislation.
The deficit would be reduced $321 billion by 2026, the CBO found, compared to $337 billion in deficit reduction in the House bill.
“Americans need relief from the failed Obamacare law,” McConnell said in a statement after the CBO release. “The Senate will soon take action on a bill that the Congressional Budget Office just confirmed will reduce the growth in premiums under Obamacare, reduce taxes on the middle class, and reduce the deficit. The American people need better care now, and this legislation includes the necessary tools to provide it.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) declared she wasn’t on board.
“I want to work w/ my GOP & Dem colleagues to fix the flaws in ACA. CBO analysis shows Senate bill won’t do it. I will vote no on [motion to proceed],” Collins tweeted this evening.
“CBO says 22 million people lose insurance; Medicaid cuts hurt most vulnerable Americans; access to healthcare in rural areas threatened,” she added. “Senate bill doesn’t fix ACA problems for rural Maine. Our hospitals are already struggling. 1 in 5 Mainers are on Medicaid.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told reporters on Capitol Hill today that he’s “not voting to get on it unless it changes before we get to it.”
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told CNN today that he’d vote against the motion to proceed if McConnell pushes a vote this week; GOP leaders will “take a vote on a motion to proceed at their own peril,” Johnson told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, calling the rush to vote on the bill before the July 4 break “absurd.”
Johnson said he spoke with President Trump, who’s been whipping reticent senators, for half an hour on Sunday, but vowed to his hometown paper that he’s “not going to be bullied or pressured by anybody.”
Calling the CBO report “a significant concern for all of us,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told CNN that she’s “trying to get some serious answers to some really very serious questions” as she studies the bill and now the Budget Office estimates.
“I want to make sure that those that have the benefits that come through Medicaid and now Medicaid expansion are able to see that, a level of continuation of care. I want to make sure that a state that pays the highest cost for our premiums so far and above any state out there, that there is some level of a balance in equity,” Murkowski said. “Right now, making sure that the tax credits are something that work in a high-cost, low-population state like mine. So, it’s making sure that access is continued.”
“And you all know I have been a supporter of funding for Planned Parenthood,” she added. “In my state, that’s access for women. So, making sure that access is continued, that costs come down and those that have received the benefits that we have — we have clearly seen in Alaska and around the country, with Medicaid expansion are — those benefits are continued.”
Sen. Dean Heller (D-Nev.) said Friday that he opposes the healthcare bill. America First Policies, a pro-Trump PAC, is planning a seven-figure ad buy slamming Heller that will go live unless the senator changes his vote to “yes,” Axios reported today.