Homenews

Senate GOP prepared to vote for health care bill they don’t support, could become law

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Are Republicans falling for the old okie-doke?

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, speak on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 18. President Donald Trump blasted congressional Democrats and “a few Republicans” over the collapse of the GOP effort to rewrite the Obama health care law. McConnell proposed a vote on a backup plan simply repealing the statute, but that idea was on the brink of rejection, too. CREDIT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

By Judd Legum and Ryan Koronowski

Senate Republicans are rapidly headed toward a vote, expected Friday, on a so-called “skinny” Obamacare repeal bill. The bill will leave much of Obamacare in place but eliminate the individual and employer mandate — a change the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates will cost 16 million people their health care and jack up premiums by 20 percent.

One group of people that oppose the substance of the bill are Republican Senators who plan on voting for it.

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC): Skinny repeal is “the worst possible outcome…would destroy the insurance markets”

Graham said that “[t]he worst possible outcome is to pass something that most people believe is a place holder and it becomes the final product.” He would like to, nevertheless, vote for the bill if he can get assurances from the House that it will not become law.

“I cannot tolerate our skinny bill being the final answer on health care. … No way. If you passed it as a standalone proposition it would destroy the insurance markets and we would own the failure of Obamacare,” Graham told Politico.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN): Skinny repeal is “not a solution.”

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Sen. David Purdue (R-GA): The fact that skinny repeal could become law is “the only possible problem.”

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Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD): “Making sausage isn’t pretty.”

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Sen. John Cornyn (R-AZ): Skinny repeal should not be sent to the president

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Cornyn is the Republican Majority Whip and is actively encouraging Senators to vote for a bill he does not support.

Sen. Rob Portman: Will support skinny repeal only if he’s sure it will never become law

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It’s actually more difficult to find any Republican Senator who will defend “skinny repeal” on the merits. The closest is probably Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), but he is hardly enthusiastic.

The big problem is that there are no guarantees the the House will not simply pass “skinny repeal” after the Senate does. In fact, the House has enacted a special procedure referred to as “martial law” which would allow the “skinny repeal” to pass the House in one day.

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In a note to lawmakers, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said the procedure was put in place so the House could have the option of quickly voting on the Senate health care legislation.

One key Trump ally in the House says he will support the legislation.

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Cornyn admitted that the Senate cannot guarantee that the House will not simply pass the Senate bill, because ultimately “[t]he request to go to conference, has to come from the House.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), a member of the Senate leadership, said he would be “fine” if “skinny repeal” become law.


Senate GOP prepared to vote for health care bill they don’t support, could become law was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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