Kentucky Republican U.S. Sen Rand Paul tells reporters he plans to vote against a GOP bill that would repeal and replace most of former President Barack Obama’s health care law on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Adam Beam)

The last-gasp Republican drive to tear down President Barack Obama’s health care law essentially died Monday as Maine Sen. Susan Collins joined a small but decisive cluster of GOP senators in opposing the push.

The Maine moderate said in a statement that the legislation would make “devastating” cuts in the Medicaid program for poor and disabled people, drive up premiums for millions and weaken protections Obama’s law gives people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Collins told reporters that she made her decision despite receiving a phone call from President Donald Trump, who’s been futilely trying to press unhappy GOP senators to back the measure.

She said the legislation is “deeply flawed,” despite several changes its sponsors have made in an effort to round up support.

The collapse of the legislation marks a replay of the embarrassing loss Trump and party leaders suffered in July, when the Senate rejected three attempts to pass legislation erasing the 2010 statute. The GOP has made promises to scrap the law a high-profile campaign vow for years.

With their narrow 52-48 majority and solid Democratic opposition, three GOP “no” votes would doom the bill. GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Texas’ Ted Cruz have said they oppose the measure, though Cruz aides said he was seeking changes that would let him vote yes.

The only way Republicans could revive the bill would be to change opposing senators’ minds, something they’ve been trying unsuccessfully to do for months.

The Senate must vote this week for Republicans to have any chance of prevailing with their narrow margin. Next Sunday, protections expire against a Democratic filibuster, bill-killing delays that Republicans lack the votes to overcome.

It was unclear if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would have a roll call if he knew it would lose.

Collins announced her decision shortly after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said “millions” of Americans would lose coverage under the bill and projected it would impose $1 trillion in Medicaid cuts through 2026.

No. 3 Senate GOP leader John Thune of South Dakota conceded that the measure’s prospects were “bleak.”

 

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Copyright © 2017 Capitol Hill Blue

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4 COMMENTS

  1. The main effect of this bill was to give states that refused to expand Medicaid a Republican-owned chance to do just that. But they still have a chance to expand: All they have to do is to say yes.

    That’s why this is all about partisan theater. The GOP wants naming rights on the stadium. They are willing to kill thousands of people to get that. I’m not exaggerating. Refusing to expand Medicaid really does kill a certain number of people for lack of coverage.

    • I think that it goes beyond not wanting to expand Medicaid. They’ve been on a mission to cut SS and Medicare since they were adopted decades ago. With voter suppression, gerrymandering, keeping the minimum wage low, cutting food stamps, shutting down Planned Parenthood, keeping the costs of contraception off of people’s medical coverage, cutting medical coverage in general, banning abortion entirely, tax cuts for the rich and the corporations, their constant corporate welfare support for the fossil fuel industries even though they don’t need it (for their campaign contributions) at the peril of the planet, obstructing education efforts, etc. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Repubs want this country to consist of two classes: The obscenely rich and the abject poor. But there’s going to have to be a housing study done to figure the optimum density of refrigerator boxes under overpasses and the population they can support. Of course, pushing all studies aside, it’s been proven that the more money there is in circulation, the better off everyone will be. But they and this country’s business community can’t seem to think beyond next week, much less the decade ahead.

  2. I don’t trust Rand Paul. Although he’s probably more philosophically against Trumpcare. I think it’s strange that no Republican senator – with the exceptions of McCain and Collins – voiced any opposition to the bill because of the adverse effects it would have on the people of their state. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska would help the cause if she voted no too for the above reason. You’d think that McConnell would finally get smart enough to start working with the Dems on this, but their radical supporters won’t hear of it. It’s sad that the whole Republican party is being run by a small portion of voters and of course, the lobbyists.

  3. Thanks Sen John (Wacko bird) McCain, Sen. Sue Collins, two principled moderates, and Kentucky’s Wacko bird Sen Rand Paul.

    To the Republican Senate and the Republican House, instead of trying to erase a black man’s legacy; how about you fund ACA, work with Democrats to fix what needs to be fixed in Health Care, let the government negotiate for medications and control, the obscene patent profits of pharmaceutical companies.

    The American people have spoken many times; they want to keep the ACA. Now, do your constituents a favor and LISTEN TO THEM!

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