For all of the signs that the GOP health care bill is on life support, a key fact should still frighten Obamacare proponents: None of the so-called moderate Republican senators who could kill the bill have done so.
And one of them, Sen. #Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who threw cold water on the legislation early on with a scathing statement, can be “bought off” with perks for his home-state, according to a report in Axios.
At this point, the Senate is deliberating over its second iteration of Obamacare repeal that has been ever-so-slightly modified to pick up the support of both centrist and hard-line conservative skeptics.
To address the concerns of moderates, the bill’s revisions keep in place a 3.8-percent Obamacare tax on investment income for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and significantly increases funding for opioid addiction treatment.
At the same time, to pick up the backing on Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and like-minded allies, an amendment would allow insurers to offer plans that don’t comply with Obamacare coverage regulations so long as they offer at least one plan that does. The rules that the plans would be permitted to flout include community rating provisions, which prevent insurers from charging people with pre-existing medical conditions higher rates.
Two senators announced their opposition to the new bill right away: Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Majority Leader #Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can only lose two of his 52-member conference and still pass the bill (with the help of Vice President Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote). But a curious thing happened Thursday, after McConnell released the text of the new bill, which still unwinds the Medicaid expansion and undermines protections for people with pre-existing conditions. No one else came forward to sink the bill.
It appeared as if the senators who would oppose the bill were waiting for another senator to cast the third and final vote that kills the bill.