Se­nate de­lays vote on GOP healthcare

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA -

WASHINGTON — US Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell late Satur­day night an­nounced a de­lay to a vote on a Repub­li­can bill to re­peal and re­place the coun­try’s ex­ist­ing healthcare pro­gram.

The an­nounce­ment came af­ter a statement said that Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor John McCain would stay home to re­cover from surgery on a blood clot, which would leave Repub­li­cans short of the votes re­quired to ad­vance the leg­is­la­tion.

The Repub­li­can healthcare bill — the Bet­ter Care Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Act (BCRA) — is de­signed to re­place for­mer pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s sig­na­ture healthcare law, the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act (ACA), also known as Oba­macare.

McCain had a 2-inch blood clot re­moved from above his left eye by sur­geons in Phoenix on Fri­day.

“On the ad­vice of his doc­tors, Sen­a­tor McCain will be re­cov­er­ing in Ari­zona next week,” a spokesper­son for the 80-year-old sen­a­tor said in a statement Satur­day.

The Mayo Clinic Hos­pi­tal in Phoenix said “the surgery went very well”, and McCain is rest­ing at home “in good con­di­tion”.

“While John is re­cov­er­ing, the Se­nate will con­tinue our work on leg­isla­tive items and nom­i­na­tions, and will de­fer con­sid­er­a­tion of the Bet­ter Care Act,” McCon­nell said in a statement late Satur­day night.

With op­po­si­tion com­ing from all Democrats and in­de­pen­dents in the Se­nate, the GOP bill has been on a brink as some Repub­li­cans stay un­de­cided.

Two Repub­li­cans, Rand Paul and Su­san Collins, have made clear that they will vote against the GOP mea­sure.

As Repub­li­cans hold a 52-49 ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate, they could af­ford los­ing two votes from their side. And now with McCain stay­ing home, the GOP lead­er­ship is less likely to gain 50 votes, a thresh­old to be­gin de­bate on the leg­is­la­tion.

On Sun­day, Collins said eight to 10 Repub­li­can sen­a­tors have se­ri­ous con­cerns about the leg­is­la­tion.

While Collins said that she did not know if the leg­is­la­tion would ul­ti­mately pass, she said as many as 10 Repub­li­cans have doubts about it.

“There are about eight to 10 Repub­li­can sen­a­tors who have se­ri­ous con­cerns about this bill,” Collins told CNN’s “State of the Union” pro­gram, fault­ing the bill for its cuts to the Med­i­caid gov­ern­ment health in­sur­ance pro­gram for the poor, which she said would harm ru­ral hos­pi­tals and nurs­ing homes.

“I don’t know whether it will pass, but I do know this, we should not be mak­ing fun­da­men­tal changes in a vi­tal safety net pro­gram that’s been on the books for 50 years — the Med­i­caid pro­gram — with­out hav­ing a sin­gle hear­ing to eval­u­ate what the con­se­quences are go­ing to be,” she added.

Paul also re­it­er­ated his op­po­si­tion to the bill, which he de­scribed as “ter­ri­ble” be­cause it re­tained many of the Oba­macare taxes and sub­si­dies.

“The cur­rent sys­tem is ter­ri­ble,” Paul said on Fox News Sun­day. “I don’t think Repub­li­cans should put their name on this. It is a bad po­lit­i­cal strat­egy, and it will not fix the prob­lem.”

REUTERS / AARON P. BERN­STEIN

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell speaks with re­porters about the Se­nate healthcare bill on Capi­tol Hill in Washington on July 13.

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