WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to repeal and replace “Obamacare” is now in the hands of a key group of GOP senators who are opposing -or not yet supporting – legislation Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing to bring to a vote this week.
These lawmakers range from moderate to conservative Republicans, and include senators who were just re-elected and a couple facing tough re-election fights. Their concerns about the legislation vary along with their ideology, from those who say it’s overly punitive in ejecting people from the insurance rolls, to others who say it doesn’t go far enough in dismantling former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine tweeted after the Congressional Budget Office analysis on Monday that the Senate bill won’t fix the flaws in the current bill. She says she will vote no on the “motion to proceed.”
Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin says he has “a hard time believing I’ll have enough information for me to support a motion to proceed this week.”
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says it’s worse to “pass a bad bill than to pass no bill.”
CUOMO WEIGHS IN ON SENATE HEALTHCARE BILL
Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t been shy about voicing his criticism of the Senate version of the health care bill. In a statement released Monday following an assessment report released by the Congressional Budget Office on the Senate Plan, the governor said the report shows that Republicans in the Senate are choosing to put millionaires over the middle class, cutting taxes for the rich at the expense of the health care of millions of Americans.
“This bill will leave 22 million more Americans without health care coverage, including 15 million more Americans by next year alone,” The governor noted. “Just like the House bill, this legislation is a death trap for New Yorkers. The Senate bill will jeopardize health care coverage for millions of New Yorkers, raise premiums on the poor and the elderly, and eliminate more than $7 billion for New York’s health care system, including life-saving funding for the fight against the opioid crisis. It also specifically targets New York, threatening to withhold federal tax credits for New Yorkers because of our support for women’s reproductive rights.”
He also said that the inclusion of the Faso-Collins amendment – which aims to eliminate the local contribution counties pay the state to help cover the cost of Medicaid – would force every resident to pay more through a new state tax.
“And by including the reckless Faso-Collins amendment, this bill will force every resident of this state to pay a ‘Faso-Collins Federal Tax’ added onto local property taxes to make up the $2.3 billion shortfall created by their proposal,” The governor noted.
Cuomo said he’s already called on the state’s Congressional delegation to do everything within their means to protect New York residents and not support the measures. However, Chautauqua County’s representative in Congress, Republican Tom Reed of Corning, released a statement critical of the governor, calling him a liar and a bully who’s done nothing for upstate New York.
“Governor Cuomo is a liar who has done nothing for upstate New York,” Reed said. “He’s a one trick pony for whom everything is an excuse to raise taxes. He needs to buck up like other governors and start reining in the cost of Medicaid and figure out more efficient ways of spending the taxpayers’ money. Instead, he acts like a bully and threatens a tax hike on middle class families. I’d like to see Gov. Cuomo run for president owning the highest tax increase in America.”