Two more Republican senators announced Monday that they would oppose a procedural step to advance GOP leadership’s health care bill, preventing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from moving forward with plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas separately announced their opposition to the revised health bill, and will vote no on the motion that would allow it to go to the floor.
McConnell could only afford to lose two senators and still advance the legislation, and as of last week, he’d already lost Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy. Furthermore, if we leave the federal government in control of everyday healthcare decisions, it is more likely that our healthcare system will devolve into a single-payer system, which would require a massive federal spending increase,” Moran said in a statement. “We must now start fresh with an open legislative process to develop innovative solutions that provide greater personal choice, protections for pre-existing conditions, increased access and lower overall costs for Kansans.”
“My colleague @JerryMoran and I will not support the MTP to this version of BCRA #HealthcareBill” Lee tweeted.
Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, also angrily indicated Monday he might oppose his party’s health care bill in an upcoming showdown vote.
“Last week I was strongly urging colleagues to vote” to begin debating the measure, a critical vote expected as early as next week. “I’m not doing that right now,” he said.
The comments by Johnson came after an expected showdown this week was postponed because Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was recovering from a Friday procedure to remove a blood clot above his left eye. His office said he’d recuperate in Arizona for a week, and several senators said Monday they expected McCain, 80, to return quickly.
“We hope John McCain gets better very soon,” President Donald Trump said. “Because we miss him. He’s a crusty voice in Washington. Plus we need his vote.”
Gearing up for that vote, around a half-dozen GOP senators were meeting with Trump and Pence at the White House late Monday in what the White House billed as a strategy session. All senators attending were supporting the bill, and the group included No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas and No. 3 leader John Thune of South Dakota.
Conservative support for the legislation has hinged in part on the measure’s planned $772 billion in 10-year cuts to Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor, disabled and nursing home patients. But only $35 billion of those cuts occur over the next two years; more than half don’t take effect until 2024, 2025 and 2026, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.