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Pessimism Grows Among GOP Senators on Obamacare Repeal

Image: Pessimism Grows Among GOP Senators on Obamacare Repeal
(AP)

By    |   Saturday, 08 Jul 2017 09:31 AM

Senate Republicans returning to Washington following their July 4th break are pessimistic they will be able to repeal Obamacare and pass new healthcare legislation.

Many members are digging in with their various views on what the healthcare law should contain and questioning the current plan under consideration, The Hill reported Saturday.

The shift comes following the break where many senators heard from constituents who opposed changes to Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a Rotary Club group in Kentucky Republicans might need to move to Plan B that would stabilize insurance markets if it looked like their bill could not pass.

"If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to private health insurance markets must occur," he said at the Rotary Club meeting.

Some senators who have come out in opposition have surprised the body's leadership, such as Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., who normally sides with GOP leadership, but indicated he would be a "no" vote after the recent recess. And, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, was even further discouraged as he told the Des Moines Register, "I don't know if we're even going to get a bill up."

"Compared to how optimistic I was the week before, now... I'm very pessimistic," Grassley told constituents in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, but added senators could still opt to repeal Obamacare now and replace it later.

"We're still several weeks away from a vote, I think," Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said in a televised event, while protesters urged him to oppose the Senate bill.

And, some members, such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., held to their belief the Senate bill kept too much of Obamacare in place, and said he had heard no feedback from the leadership about his view of what a new healthcare law should contain.

"No, none. We've reached out to Senate Republican leadership," Paul told reporters. "We've described some of the things with the association plans... and we have not gotten any feedback. Now, I talked to the president about it, and he was very receptive."

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has built support for an amendment allowing insurers to sell plans that don't meet Obamacare regulations, which some believed to be unrealistic. The GOP leadership sent two bills to the Congressional Budget Office for review — one that includes Cruz's proposal and one that doesn't.

But some senators are backing the idea of simply repealing Obamacare.

"We have had — for seven years — we have promised to do that," Cruz said. "Repealing Obamacare was the single biggest factor producing a Republican House, a Republican Senate and, I think, ultimately a Republican president."

Senate leadership indicated they could not back that action, including Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.

"If we can't get this done instead of walking away from either repeal or replace ... I don't want that to happen," Sasse told reporters in Nebraska. "So, I think it would be a more prudent legislative step to unbundle repeal and replace."

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Senate Republicans returning to Washington following their July 4th break are pessimistic they will be able to repeal Obamacare and pass new healthcare legislation.Many members are digging in with their various views on what the healthcare law should contain and questioning...
Senate, healthcare, repeal Obamacare, Republicans, pessimism, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
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2017-31-08
Saturday, 08 Jul 2017 09:31 AM
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