Health Politics

Two more senators have added their names to the list of “no” votes on a motion to bring the Republican plan to replace Obamacare to the floor, ensuring that it doesn’t have enough support.

Republicans Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas have added their names to those of Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine who already announced their opposition. With only 48 other Republicans in the Senate and no support from Democrats or independents, the measure is effectively dead.

“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,” Moran said in a statement.

The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) had been the latest Republican attempt to replace the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act after an earlier GOP effort failed.

After Lee and Moran made their announcements, President Trump tweeted that Congress shouldn’t worry about replacing Obamacare immediately, and should just dump it.

Sen. John McCain, whose unexpected surgery on Saturday led Senate GOP leaders to slow their push for the measure, issued a statement calling for the party to stop looking for a quick path to a health care overhaul:

“One of the major problems with Obamacare was that it was written on a strict party-line basis and driven through Congress without a single Republican vote. As this law continues to crumble in Arizona and states across the country, we must not repeat the original mistakes that led to Obamacare’s failure. The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care.”

As NPR’s Geoff Bennett and Tamara Keith reported earlier this week, Senate Republicans, realizing how close the tally was, had delayed taking up the measure until McCain was well enough to return to the Senate.

Geoff and Tamara wrote: “McConnell had been in a rush to get the bill to a vote, in part because it was thought more time wouldn’t help and could hurt the chance for passage.”

“We look forward to Congress continuing to work toward a bill the president can sign to end the Obamacare nightmare and restore quality care at affordable prices,” a White House spokesman said, declining to be identified by name.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer said in a statement that the “second failure of Trumpcare is proof positive” that the bill is “unworkable.”

“Rather than repeating the same failed, partisan process yet again, Republicans should start from scratch and work with Democrats on a bill that lowers premiums, provides long term stability to the markets and improves our health care system,” Schumer said.

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