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Senate GOP Effort to Repeal Obamacare Looks Dead on Arrival

Variety logo Variety 7/18/2017 Ted Johnson
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s latest plan to call for a vote to repeal, but not replace Obamacare looked to be dead on Tuesday, after a number of Republican senators said that they could not support such a plan.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said that they would not support such an effort without a replacement plan in place. Others, like Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), expressed skepticism.

After it became clear on Monday night that McConnell lacked the votes for a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, he said that Congress would instead vote in the next few days on a straight-up repeal, with the plan to come up with a replacement at a later date.

But even that plan looks unlikely.

“We can’t just hope that we will pass a replacement within the next two years,” Capito said in a statement, adding that repealing it now would create marketplace uncertainty and “cause further turmoil in the insurance markets.”

President Donald Trump told reporters that absent congressional action, “I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail. We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it.” He said that with such a plan, “Democrats are going to come to us.”

The Republicans hold a 52-seat majority in the Senate, but none of the Democrats or independents were expected to support the current versions of their healthcare plans.

“As I always said, let Obamacare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan! Stay tuned,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

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