Two Republican senators effectively issued a deathblow to the latest Senate GOP healthcare legislation on Monday night, throwing into doubt the future of the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah announced Monday evening that they would vote against a motion to proceed to debate on the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had sought to hold a vote this week, but the plan was delayed in part because Sen. John McCain was recovering from surgery to remove a blood clot. McCain’s recovery was expected to push the vote back at least a week.
McConnell could afford to lose only two senators and still have the bill move on. Two other GOP lawmakers — Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine — had already expressed their opposition, bringing the total to four.
In a statement, Moran criticized the secretive process used to draft the bill and the fact it could roll back protections for people with preexisting conditions.
“We must now start fresh with an open legislative process to develop innovative solutions that provide greater personal choice, protections for preexisting conditions, increased access, and lower overall costs for Kansans,” Moran said.
Lee, on the other hand, said the bill did not do enough to roll back regulations from the ACA, the law better known as Obamacare. The Utah lawmaker supported an amendment introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz that would have allowed insurers to sell plans that did not adhere to two major Obamacare rules.
“In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle-class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations,” Lee said in a statement.