As of today, six GOP Senators have signaled real reservations. There are 52 GOP senators, so if they lose only three, repeal-and-delay would go down to defeat — meaning, in Bloomberg’s words, that right now, there are “more than enough” senators expressing doubt to “scuttle efforts to deliver swiftly on a central promise from President-elect Donald Trump.”
Here’s something to keep an eye on: The overlap between Republicans who are balking at repeal-and-delay with Republicans from red states that have expanded Medicaid.
Numerous GOP Senators have, in some form or other, recently said they don’t want to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act unless Republicans settle on a replacement first. Senator Tom Cotton said: “I think when we repeal Obamacare we need to have the solution in place moving forward.” Senator Rand Paul said: “I think it’s imperative that Republicans do a replacement simultaneous to repeal.” Senator Bill Cassidy also expressed reservations, pointing out that Donald Trump, too, had said he wants to see repeal and replace voted on “simultaneously.”
Senator Susan Collins today said that Republicans should have a detailed alternative blueprint of some kind in place before going forward with the repeal vote. Senator Lamar Alexander has also expressed serious reservations about repeal-and-delay with no guarantee of a replacement. So has Senator Bob Corker.
Senator Alexander’s reservations aren’t that surprising, because he’s the chair of the health and education committee, and probably wants (or so some Democrats believe) a big hand in a replacement bill. Senator Corker’s queasiness isn’t that surprising, either, because he prides himself on being a serious and deliberate lawmaker. Nor is Senator Collins’s reluctance, because she’s positioned herself as centrist-leaning in a bluish state.
But Senators Paul, Cotton, and Cassidy are surprising. They all come from deep red states, and aren’t known for exercising caution towards Obamacare. But all of them come from states that have expanded Medicaid.
More Republicans Are Going Wobbly on Obamacare Repeal