Republicans are down to the wire in making a last ditch effort to tear down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But like all the times before, it appears as though the latest GOP incarnation of Obamacare Lite will fall short in Congress. Despite last minute efforts to save the legislation crafted by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the votes aren’t there.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has been a defiant voice against the legislation for some time now, labeling it Obamacare Lite and Obamacare 2.0. Through tweets and interviews, he has listed his grievances against the proposal. Even after President Donald Trump attempted to bully him into submission with mean tweets, Paul has remained an unwavering voice of opposition.
Now Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has added himself into the opposing column alongside Paul. McCain, in a statement, said that he believes that his colleagues in Congress can do a better job, and they haven’t even begun trying.
This leaves Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) with no wiggle room. One more vote against, and it’s done before it hits the floor.
All eyes remain on Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Both women have been a consistent thorn in the side of Republicans determined to toss out former President Barack Obama’s biggest legislative achievement. With Collins recently indicating she was leaning towards voting “No,” it leaves the legislation all but dead. Given past history, it is very unlikely that Collins and Murkowski will support the Graham-Cassidy legislation.
This does not mean that Obamacare repeal is done and over, but accomplishing anything after the September 30th deadline will be difficult for Republicans to accomplish. This is an important moment for the party, with moderates saying it does too much and conservatives concerned it doesn’t do enough. With two solid votes against and two more likely to join them, the Graham-Cassidy bill is almost certainly dead.