Where They Stand: The Senate Health Care Bill

By No Labels
July 12, 2017 | Blog

Updated July 17, 2017.

On July 17th, Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) announced that they would not be supporting the BRCA, leaving Senate Republicans short of the 50 votes they needed to have Vice President Mike Pence break a tie. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell subsequently pivoted to a repeal-only plan, however, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) immediately declared their opposition rendering it dead on arrival. McConnell’s proposal to repeal the ACA entailed a 2-year delay, which the Majority Leader characterized as an opportunity for bipartisan cooperation.

Published July 12, 2017.

More than two weeks have passed since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), yet questions remain of whether the bill, designed to repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act, has sufficient support to pass the Senate.

The 52 members of the Senate Republican conference have been meeting to work out various concerns because, if all 48 Democrats vote against the bill, passing BCRA will require 50 yes-votes—enough to allow Vice President Mike Pence to break the 50-50 tie. No Democrat has indicated support for the bill in its current form, offering a stark reminder of 2010, when no Republican senators voted for the Affordable Care Act. Governors of both parties have been critical of the partisan approach, most notably in a bipartisan letter to GOP lawmakers sent last month. Several Republican senators have also come forward expressing similar sentiment, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) who tweeted last week “I want to work w/ my GOP and Dem colleagues to fix the flaws in ACA. CBO analysis shows Senate bill won’t do it. I will vote no on [motion to proceed].”

Below is the list of Republican senators who have expressed a desire to work with their Democratic colleagues on health care reform. We will update this list as debate on the bill ensues.

Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA)

The two have set up meetings between moderate Democrats, like Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and moderate Republicans, like Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Sen. Murkowski (R-AK) told NBC last week, “When did we get to the point where we said ‘No, we’re not going to talk to Democrats about a fix?’ We should be working with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle.”

John McCain (R-AZ)

Sen. McCain told The Washington Post, “We used to complain like hell when the Democrats ran the ACA. Now we’re doing the same thing.”

Lindsay Graham (R-SC)

Sen. Graham told CBS, “I would prefer to address health care reform in a bipartisan manner,” urging his Democratic colleagues to ENGAGE.

Jerry Moran (R-KS)

At a town hall last week, Sen. Moran criticized the GOP leadership’s strategy of pushing the bill through the Senate with 51 votes, stating that senators should instead publicly debate the bill and try to “figure out where there are 60 votes to pass something.”

Ben Sasse (R-IA)

While the senator from Iowa publicly supports a full repeal of the ACA, he has expressed interest in receiving Democratic input on a potential replacement.  Sen. Sasse said to CNN, “I’d like to say let’s do the repeal and then let’s try to get 60 out of 100 senators.”

Rand Paul (R-KY)

Sen. Rand Paul, who has been openly critical of both the ACA and BRCA, proposed to Fox News Sunday the idea of concurrent bills, where “they [the Republicans] could probably get Democrats to go along.”

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