Cruz, GOP colleagues back away from Obamacare repeal bill

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Sept. 24, 2017 at 2:07 PM
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Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The embattled effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act faced further setbacks as Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, voiced reservations.

Cruz said Sunday at the Texas Tribune festival in Austin that he does not support the current version of the proposal by Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Lindsey Graham , R-S.C.

"Right now, they don't have my vote and I don't think they have Mike Lee's vote either," he said, referring to Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told CNN's State of the Union she was concerned about how Cassidy-Graham would affect citizens on Medicaid and patients with preexisting conditions.

"It is very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill," Collins said. "I have a number of serious reservations about it."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., announced Friday he "cannot in good conscience" support Cassidy-Graham, while Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said in a Fox News editorial he would not be voting for the measure. A third Republican "no" vote would tank the bill, which has no support from Democrats in the Senate.

McCain called for healthcare reform with committee input as part of "regular order in the Senate."

"That is the only way we might achieve bipartisan consensus on lasting reform, without which a policy that affects one-fifth of our economy and every single American family will be subject to reversal with every change of administration and congressional majority," McCain wrote in his announcement.

Paul, however, said his opposition to the bill comes as a result of viewing it as "Obamacare lite." He said the plan does not go far enough in completely repealing the Affordable Care Act.

White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short said Sunday on NBC's Meet The Press that the administration is not put off by the setbacks and is still planning to push for a vote on Cassidy-Graham this week, with a target date of Wednesday.

"There are millions of Americans who will benefit from this bill," Short said. "In fact, we think every state will benefit."

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