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McConnell Faces Major Road Block In Passing Senate GOP’s Obamacare Repeal Bill

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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The chances of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell passing the Senate GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill before the July 4 recess appear to growing slim after multiple lawmakers expressed hesitations following the release of the Congressional Budget Office’s scores Monday.

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins joined Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Dean Heller of Nevada in saying they would vote against the motion to proceed, while Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Ted Cruz of Texas and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana expressed reservations.

Collins took to social media to outline her concerns, citing the CBO’s projections that 22 million more people would go uninsured by 2026 than under the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid funding would decrease as her biggest issues with the measure. Collins said she would prefer to take a bipartisan approach to health care reform.

“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 mtp,” she tweeted. “CBO says 22 million people lose insurance; Medicaid cuts hurt most vulnerable Americans; access to healthcare in rural areas threatened. Senate bill doesn’t fix ACA problems for rural Maine. Our hospitals are already struggling. 1 in 5 Mainers are on Medicaid.”

Paul said he thinks it’s critical they get the legislation right, telling reporters he believes voters will hold Republicans responsible if they see an increase in out-of-pocket costs during the next election cycle. The Kentucky senator said Obamacare may have exasperated problems in the insurance industry, but he isn’t confident the party’ legislation will do anything to fix it.

“I think what we’re going to end up with is — and this is why it’s worse to pass a bad bill than to pass no bill — 2018 is going to roll around and people are going to ask themselves ‘Are my premiums are lower?’ and they’re going to find out you know what my premium still went up 25 percent when Republicans said they fixed this,” he said. “I think there is actually more blame to be attached to not doing a real, thorough fixing than there is to doing nothing.”

Johnson asserted he thinks there needs to be more time to review and revise the legislation, saying he doesn’t think they can effectively fix the bill over the course of a week.

Right now, unless I have enough information – I just keep telling you — I can’t imagine I’ll have enough information to support a motion to proceed,” Johnson told reporters.

The Wisconsin Republican said he’s disappointed in the way leadership has handled the repeal efforts, adding he is concerned the bill didn’t do enough to eliminate certain Obamacare provisions he felt necessary to bring down premiums.

I mean we sat in those meetings — I don’t think there is anybody who’s more faithful about attending those meetings, providing input and making this exact point,” he said. “And let’s face it just left out legislation it was largely ignored and I’m not I’m not happy about that.”

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