Failing to win sufficient backing within their own Republican ranks, Senate GOP leaders on Tuesday postponed a vote on their plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.
Democrats, as a party whole, are seeking to capitalize on what they believe is growing public sentiment that President Donald Trump is turning his back on the people who got him elected in favor of his wealthy peers, labeling the proposed Senate plan as "wealthcare" for their springboard.
He is part of a bloc of senators who are withholding support for the bill, asking for changes to move the legislation in a more conservative direction. His spokesman, Conn Carroll, said Tuesday that Lee would not vote to commence debate on the bill "as it is now written", a roll call that's expected Wednesday.
A Congressional Budget Office score on Monday estimated that the proposal would lead to 22 million more uninsured Americans by 2026, only complicating matters for moderate GOP senators on the fence. She joined Sen. Dean Heller, a vulnerable Nevada Republican who previously said he would vote against advancing the bill as written due to its rollback of Medicaid expansion.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had been pushing for a vote ahead of the July 4 recess that starts at the end of the week.
"I would not bet against Mitch McConnell", his House counterpart, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters. The Center for American Progress released new estimates today calculating cost increases in 2026 for individuals now covered through the health insurance marketplace, both nationally and for selected states, under the Senate Republican health care repeal bill, or Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA). "CBO analysis shows Senate bill won't do it".
"McConnell is going to relentlessly work all recess to cobble together 50 votes", Senator Chris Murphy of CT wrote on Twitter.
Minutes after the CBO report's release, three GOP senators threatened to oppose beginning debate.
"A vote this week would have been rushed", said Sen.
Cruz has yet to back the Senate GOP bill but publicly maintains he is open to supporting the effort.
Sen. McConnell is doing everything he can to persuade Senate Republicans that Trumpcare wont be devastating for the people they serve, but the facts are that Trumpcare is going to cause families to pay more, gut Medicaid, and take coverage away from millions of people, Murray said. Paul tweeted that he was meeting with Trump at the White House Tuesday.
Moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she would vote no.
Lee has favored a fuller repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law than the current GOP bill. The president confirmed reports last week that he had privately criticized the House version of the health care bill as "mean", even though he invited Ryan and members of the House GOP leadership over to the White House Rose Garden for a celebration after it passed.
In one example, the report says that in 2026 under Obama's law, a 64-year-old earning $26,500 would pay premiums amounting to $1,700 a year, after subsidies.
"We call on the Senate to vote "no" on this bill that will do irreparable harm to patients, particularly those living with chronic illnesses", the statement read.
"We will not be on the bill this week, but we're still working towards getting at least 50 people in a comfortable place", the Kentucky Republican told reporters.
The new bill allows states to impose work requirements for Medicaid (on top of removing funds).
Because West Virginia made a decision to expand coverage through Medicaid under former President Barack Obama's health care law, many people in the state have come to rely on the health coverage and access to substance abuse treatment it provides, even as others with private insurance face skyrocketing premiums and deductibles, she said.
It also highlights the deep ideological divides within the party over how to improve the health care system while not cutting millions of Americans out of insurance coverage.
At the other end, families making $20,000 a year would, on average, get a $190 tax cut.