Washington, Sep 19 (EFE).- Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the new bill his party is fielding to repeal and replace the current healthcare law, known as ObamaCare, has “a great deal of support” among GOP lawmakers, although he is continuing to evaluate the possibility of bringing it to a floor vote next week.
Republicans need 50 of their 52-member majority to pass the measure sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, but McConnell has told colleagues that he will not bring the bill to a vote unless it has the necessary support.
He called the bill an “intriguing” idea, adding that “It would repeal the pillars of Obamacare and replace that failed law with a new one allowing states and governors (to) actually implement better health care ideas by taking more decision-making power out of Washington.”
“If we were going to go forward, we would have to act before Sept. 30. We’re in the process of discussing all of this. Everybody knows that the opportunity expires at the end of the month,” the GOP Senate leader said.
This is the first time that McConnell has brought up the bill this week that seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act, the formal name of the ObamaCare health reform that became the signature legislation of former President Barack Obama.
The initiative is gaining support given that conservatives realize that Sept. 30 is their deadline for replacing ObamaCare with a mere simple majority of 51 votes, potentially including Vice President Mike Pence as a tie-breaking vote.
After their humiliating failure this summer to overturn the AFA, when President Donald Trump insisted that Republican lawmakers approve some kind of reversal of the health care reform so that he could at least tacitly fulfill his campaign promise to trash ObamaCare, Graham and Cassidy’s bill has reopened debate on the matter.
The bill would eliminate key portions of ObamaCare, including the system whereby citizens are fined if they do not obtain health insurance and government subsidies are provided to insurers to expand Medicaid.
However, Democrats in Congress – led by Chuck Schumer in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House – have warned about the consequences of the new bill and have called upon the Congressional Budget Office to evaluate its potential impact.
Previous GOP proposals for replacing ObamaCare would have meant leaving between 22 million and 32 million people without health insurance over the next 10 years.
Democrats are denouncing the Republicans’ lack of transparency and hearings to debate the bill, and the CBO has suggested that it does not have sufficient time to fully analyze its impact before the prospective Sept. 30 vote.