WASHINGTON, D.C. — The embattled Republican health care plan faced a serious setback on Thursday as four key Republican leaders again came out in opposition of the bill.
Senators Rand Paul, (R-Ky.), Ted Cruz, (R-Texas), Mike Lee, (R-Utah), and Ron Johnson, (R-Wis.), told the press Thursday morning that they intend to contest the Senate Republican plan in its current form.
“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” the foursome said in a released statement. “There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system but it does not appear this draft, as written, will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal ObamaCare and lower their health care costs.”
Paul, who holds a unique perspective on the plan being a physician himself, has been exceptionally vocal in his disapproval of key elements of the bill, particularly refundable tax credits, and has taken his issues with the bill in it’s current form to the president himself.
““I told him, part of my problem is it still looks too much like Obamacare for me,” Paul told The Washington Examiner (http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/22/rand-paul-ted-cruz-mike-lee-and-ron-johnson-oppose/).
“My hope is not to defeat the bill, but to make the bill better,” Paul told a group of waiting reporters in DC. “Now the discussions begin — I think it could take longer than a week.”
Cruz and Lee say their main issue with the bill as written is that it does not do enough to lower premiums for Americans.
“As currently drafted, this bill draft does not do nearly enough to lower premiums. That should be the central issue for Republicans — repealing Obamacare and making health care more affordable,” said Cruz. “It is important to remember that what was released today was only a draft,” he said. “I am hopeful that as we openly debate this legislation, real improvements will be made prior to floor consideration so that we can pass a bill that provides the relief from Obamacare that Republicans have repeatedly promised the last seven years.”
As for Johnson, the Minnesota native says he opposes what he calls the “secretive” drafting process and worries that the Senate might be rushing to a vote.
“I’ve got to talk to the governor, to our state legislators, to doctors, to nurse, to health care providers, to hospitals — and we actually have to get the information we don’t have yet,” he said.
In it’s current state, the bill repeals key components of the original ObamaCare plan but has managed to cut some of the “crucial” spending that conservatives have fought for, primarily a cut to Planned Parenthood funding.
Senate GOP leaders hold a 52-seat majority, so they cannot afford to lose more than two votes. Doing so will most certainly lead to a Democratic filibuster on the bill.