Senate GOP fears conservative mutinies on health-care bill

The negotiations have made some concessions to moderate GOP membersótoo many, in the eyes of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Miriam Griffin | Jun 11, 2017

The Senate GOP's struggle to hold onto enough votes to get its health-care bill through the chamber is on increasingly precarious ground due to discontent among some of the more conservative members with negotiations over the bill's finer points.

Republicans spent much of last week composing a draft of the bill and debating key issues such as how to pare down Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid coverage and what parts of Obamacare's regulatory structure to keep in place, including the mandate to cover preexisting conditions. Disagreements simmer, also, over subsidies and tax credits for modest-income individuals, which some conservative senators oppose.

The negotiations have made some concessions to moderate GOP memberstoo many, in the eyes of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Paul told reporters that the bill in its current form leaves too much of Obamacare in place for his liking.

"We promised the voters that we'd repeal Obamacare," Paul said. "Instead, we want to repeal sort of a tiny bit of it and replace it with something that looks a lot like Obamacare." A Republican senator who requested anonymity told Politico that Paul and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) will both vote no. If true, it would all but sink the bill's prospects of clearing a bare minimum 50-vote majority.

Several moderate Republican senators, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) have already hinted that they may vote no, as well. Collins has expressed misgivings about the bill's likely cuts to Medicaid and expressed concern that millions of Americans could lose health care coverage if the bill became law.

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