Hours after Senate GOP leadership unveiled their secretly-drafted healthcare bill, four Republican Senators have already announced that they will not vote for it. The bill can only afford two Republican defections.
Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Ron Johnson released a statement that they would not support the current legislation unless it is edited to further lower healthcare costs.
“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor. There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current healthcare system but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their healthcare costs.”
This good news for liberals ironically comes from senators who feel the bill is not extreme enough. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must now find a way to lower premiums enough to satisfy the Tea Party Republicans without alienating centrist Republicans who are more concerned about their constituents losing access to health care.
Nevada Sen. Dean Heller has also expressed “serious concerns” about the bill’s Medicaid provisions, though he has not outright come out against the bill as of this writing.
Republicans are feeling pressure from their constituents over these wildly unpopular attempts to repeal Obamacare. Just 16% of people in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll said they thought the House’s version was a good idea, far worse than Obamacare’s most unpopular moments. Republicans are likely also remembering that Democrats suffered a huge electoral loss in the midterm elections following Obamacare’s passing.
“There are a lot of things that have to be worked out,” admitted Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch.
Regardless of these complications, the bill is still expected to be rushed to a vote next week.
Nathan Wellman is a Los Angeles-based journalist, author, and playwright. His less-political Youtube channel can be found here. Follow him on Twitter: @LightningWOW