McConnell Says ‘Effort to Repeal and Immediately Replace…Will Not Be Successful’

By Susan Jones | July 18, 2017 | 5:17 AM EDT

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Monday night he does not have the votes he needs to pass the second draft of a Republican health care bill. Instead, Republicans plan to vote for straight repeal, with a two-year delay. (File photo is a screen grab from C-SPAN)

( - “Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced on Monday night.

His statement follows the defection of two more Republicans – Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah.).  Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has firmly opposed the bill all along, saying it does not repeal the “fundamental flaw” of Obamacare. And Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she would vote no because of "sweeping and deep cuts" to Medicaid.

With 50 votes needed for passage, and only 52 Republican senators, the bill stood no chance with four "nays."

McConnell said the Senate, “in the coming days,” will vote to take up a House bill repealing Obamacare, but with a two-year delay, to give Republicans more time to come up with a replacement.

This is the same House bill that Republicans overwhelmingly passed in 2015, and which then-President Obama vetoed. (In his veto message, President Obama said the Affordable Care Act “is working.”)

McConnell on Monday said the Republican goal remains the same: to establish a “patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care.”

But the Senate bill, draft number two, does not deliver such a system, Republican critics say:

“In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations,” Sen. Mike Lee said in a statement announcing his “no” vote.

Sen. Jerry Moran said he wants to repeal and replace Obamacare, but the bill  produced by Senate leaders behind closed doors  “fails to repeal the Affordable Care Act or address healthcare’s rising costs.

“For the same reasons I could not support the previous version of this bill, I cannot support this one,” Moran said. “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 called for a fresh start, including an “open legislative process.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), recovering at home in Arizona from surgery to remove a blood clot, urged his colleagues not to “repeat the original mistakes that led to the failure of Obamacare."

“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,” McCain said.

“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.”

Conservatives were divided on the current version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

The Family Research Council supported it, saying it would end President Obama’s “legacy of taxpayer-funded abortion in health care.”

But ForAmerica President David Bozell called the Republican bill a “hack job.”

“You could see Senate Republicans’ lack of a replacement plan strategy from a mile away.  Make no mistake: The Trump voter does not blame Trump, but rather the feckless leaders in the Republican Establishment.  This bill was a betrayal of every campaign ad and promise the Republican Party ran on for seven years,” Bozell said in a statement.


In a tweet issued Monday night, President Trump said, “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!”


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