June 23 (UPI) — Four Republican senators, including Utah’s Mike Lee, said they are unable for vote for the Senate’s healthcare bill as written, jeopardizing its passage.
Republicans unveiled a “discussion draft” of the Better Care Reconciliation Act on Thursday, the GOP replacement for former President Barack Obama‘s Affordable Care Act. If the four senators — Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Mike Lee, R- Utah, and Rand Paul, R-Ky. — join Democratic senators in opposing the bill, it will be defeated.
Republicans have a 52 to 48 majority in the Senate.
In a joint statement, the four senators said, “Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor. There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current healthcare system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their healthcare costs.”
A vote on the bill could come next week.
In a separate statement, Paul said he would vote against the bill “in its current form, but I remain open to negotiation. The current bill does not repeal Obamacare. It does not keep our promises to the American people.”
An analysis of the bill by the Congressional Budget Office, highlighting its expected costs and effectiveness, is expected early next week.
Cruz, in a separate statement, said, “As currently drafted, this bill draft does not do nearly enough to lower premiums. That should be the central issue for Republicans — repealing Obamacare and making healthcare more affordable. Because of this, I cannot support it as currently drafted, and I do not believe it has the votes to pass the Senate.”
Other Republicans in the Senate are reserving their complete support, saying they require more time to digest the 142-page bill and consider its implications.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, commented, “I don’t like the provision [in the bill] that eliminates federal funding for Planned Parenthood. It makes no sense to single out Planned Parenthood from all the Medicaid providers. There’s already a ban against using federal funds for abortions, so there’s absolutely no need for that.”