A Republican plan to replace Obamacare will not be voted on this week, effectively signalling its collapse.
The party leadership said the bill would not come to the Senate floor after a third “no” vote emerged.
Susan Collins said she could not back the “deeply flawed” bill, despite a call from President Donald Trump and promises of money for her state.
It was a major blow for the president and Republican leadership, who have made Obamacare’s repeal a top priority.
Republican senators tried to gather more support on Monday for a last-ditch attempt to repeal Obamacare by revising funding provisions of their bill to make it more attractive to a handful of undecided lawmakers.
The outcome remained in doubt, with several senators in the party voicing concerns in recent days about the legislation to dismantle Democratic former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.
Republican senators leading the effort on Monday released a revised version of their bill in hopes of finding more support.
The latest Republican proposal to undo the Affordable Care Act would grant states much greater flexibility and all but guarantee much greater uncertainty for tens of millions of people.
The legislation, proposed by two Senate Republicans, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, would not only reduce the amount of federal funding for coverage over the next decade, but would also give states wide leeway to determine whom to cover and how. The result is a law that would be as disruptive as many of the Republicans’ previous proposals, but whose precise impact is the hardest to predict.
A small group of Republicans — led by Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham — appear convinced they can rework the equation to secure that ever-elusive 50th vote for their measure, finally passing a bill overhauling the Affordable Care Act with a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Pence and moving closer to their goal of repealing and replacing President Barack Obama’s health-care law.
There will be a lot of moving parts to watch this week. Republicans have asked the Congressional Budget Office to rush a score of the Graham-Cassidy bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s, R-Ky., office confirmed yesterday. McConnell plans to take the temperature of his leadership team and his entire conference over the next few days. They have only two weeks left to scrape together enough support, since the budget reconciliation bill they’re using expires at the end of the month.
A bipartisan group of eight governors is calling for changes to Obamacare that would increase funding under the law, enforce some of its rules on buying insurance, and encourage more health insurers to participate in the program.
The proposal, led by Ohio Republican John Kasich and Democrat John Hickenlooper of Colorado, comes as premiums under the program continue to rise in many states and as insurers have pulled out.
The rise in out-of-pocket health costs worries hospital operators now forecasting a downturn in admissions if patients don’t get relief from high deductibles and co-payments via subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
Already, hospitals are seeing soft admissions as employers and commercial carriers shift more out-of-pocket costs onto workers for their surgeries and related hospitalizations. It’s a trend hurting large hospital operators like Tenet Healthcare and HCA Holdings and is beginning to spread to nonprofit hospitals and health systems as well.
On Thursday morning, the last gap was closed. In every county in the country, an insurance provider was ready to handle people enrolling for Obamacare.