Senate Pulls Plug On Health Reform Bill: “We Don’t Have The Votes”

Capitol Hill buildingThe Republican Party’s seven-year push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was derailed again Tuesday when Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled the plug on the latest version of a bill designed to dismantle the controversial health law.

“Well, to be clear, through events that are under our control and not under our control, we don’t have the votes,” Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, a co-sponsor of the bill, said during an afternoon briefing on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the GOP would now focus on reforming the U.S. tax code.

However, McConnell and the health bill’s sponsors insisted that the Republican party hasn’t given up on reforming health care.

“It’s not if, it’s only a matter of when,” said Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, another co-sponsor of the latest bill. “With a process that gives more attention and time, we will repeal Obamacare with a block grant called Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson.

Tuesday’s admittance of defeat came just one day after Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she opposed the latest version of the bill.

Collins announced her decision shortly after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected the bill would cut Medicaid benefits by $1 trillion through 2026.

“Health care is a deeply personal, complex issue that affects every single one of us and one-sixth of the American economy,” Collins said Monday in a statement. “Sweeping reforms to our health care system and to Medicaid can’t be done well in a compressed time frame, especially when the actual bill is a moving target.”

“Today, we find out that there is now a fourth version of the Graham-Cassidy proposal, which is as deeply flawed as the previous iterations,” Collins added. “The fact that a new version of this bill was released the very week we are supposed to vote compounds the problem.”