Few things excite Republicans like their long-promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly known as Obamacare. Even Donald Trump made it one of the main pillars of his campaign. But it now appears the repeal of the ACA is stuck in neutral, and the GOP can’t blame Democrats for this one.
In order to pass a repeal and replace bill, the GOP needs 50 votes in the Senate, with Vice President-elect Mike Pence being the vote which would break a tie. But as of Monday evening, as many as six Republican Senators have indicated they will not support a fast repeal of the healthcare law, meaning there are now only 49 GOP votes to eliminate Obamacare.
The news got worse Tuesday when a total of six Republican senators said they want to put the brakes on repealing the ACA. Here’s the six who have spoken out so far:
- Bill Cassidy (Louisiana)
- Susan Collins (Maine)
- Bob Corker (Tennessee)
- Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
- Rand Paul (Kentucky)
- Rob Portman (Ohio)
Speaking Monday, Senator Corker noted:
“Repeal and replace should take place simultaneously. By exercising due diligence we can create a stable transition to an open health care marketplace that provides far greater choice and more affordable plans for the American people.”
So Corker and the other five senators have introduced an amendment to the budget resolution that would push back the planned vote on the issue from January until March 3. By that time, Congress could be on to other issues and momentum to keep the ACA might be too strong for the GOP to overcome.
Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander seemed to be reading from the same script as Corker, commenting:
“We have to take each part of it and consider what it would take to create a new and better alternative and then begin to create that alternative and once it’s available to the American people, then we can finally repeal Obamacare.”
Even longtime Obamacare critic Tom Cotton of Arkansas doesn’t sound very eager to rip health insurance away from as many as 30 million Americans:
“It would not be the right path for us to repeal Obamacare without laying out a path forward.”
Of course, the real reason these dissenting members of the Senate want to slow down a repeal of Obamacare is simple: They have no replacement and are scared of the political price which comes with leaving tens of millions of voters out in the cold to fend for themselves.The next two to three months will wind up determining whether or not the ACA survives for another year or two. Stay tuned.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org