GOP Senators Not so Keen on House's Obamacare repeal
By Seung Min Kim and Burgess Everett Politico April 27, 2017
The House may finally be on its way to scrapping Obamacare, but don’t expect the Senate to go along: Any plan sent over will undergo major surgery — and survival is far from assured. The hurdles in the upper chamber were on vivid display Wednesday as House Republicans celebrated their breakthrough on the stalled repeal effort. The compromise cut with House Freedom Caucus members won over the right flank, but the changes will almost surely make it harder to pick up votes in the more moderate-minded Senate.
Not to mention that some Senate conservatives still sound opposed to the emerging House deal.
“The Freedom Caucus has done a good job of trying to make the bill less bad,” Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of the lead Senate agitators against the House health care push, said Wednesday. “For me, it’s a big stumbling block still that there’s taxpayer money that’s being given to insurance companies, and I am just not in favor of taxpayer money going to insurance companies.”
Phil Novack, a spokesman for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), also indicated that the conservative Texas firebrand wasn’t sold, saying “significant work remains” in the Senate, “specifically to address Obamacare’s insurance mandates and enact major patient-centered reforms that will further reduce the cost of health care.”
Sources say it may take more a month for any House health care bill to run through the traps in the Senate, including internal party discussions and an analysis of how the measure would affect the deficit and insurance rolls. No committee hearings are planned because Republicans don’t want to give Democrats a public forum to bash an effort they are not involved in. And similar to the Senate's dim view of the House's proposal, the lower chamber may not ultimately be able to pass whatever the Senate is able to produce on Obamacare….
“I don’t know if this bill is better … the worst thing we can do is replace it with a Republican-only alternative that doesn’t drive down costs, that doesn’t improve access to care,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “A Republican-only bill to replace a Democratic-only bill is not what I hope for. I hope for a bipartisan bill.”
Graham is not alone. Several senators said they worry that the current three-step plan — repeal and replacing through reconciliation, making executive action changes to the law and working with Democrats to fix the rest — is unrealistic. Republicans wonder: Why would Democrats work with Republicans after watching their primary achievement from Barack Obama’s presidency gutted on a party-line vote?