The Senate is set to vote on its healthcare reform legislation as early as this week. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently warned that if the bill fails in the Senate, the GOP might be forced to work with Democrats to implement needed reforms to Obamacare.
According to Republican staffers, McConnell issued the warning to both President Donald Trump and to GOP Senators. One staffer was quoted as saying:
“If we fail, we’re going to be negotiating with [Democratic Leader] Chuck Schumer.”
Since not a single Democrat will support the legislation, the Republicans can only lose two votes in the Senate. Then, with the bare minimum of 50 votes in favor, Vice President Mike Pence could cast the tie-breaking vote to get the bill over the line.
But some Senate Republicans continue to waver on the bill. It’s easy to understand why — the bill is the most unpopular piece of legislation in decades. According to Congressional Budget Office estimates, it could cause over 20 million people to lose their health coverage by 2026, bringing the total number of uninsured Americans up to almost 50 million people.
Numbers like those are why Sen. Susan Collins (R-Mn.) has said that nothing short of a “major overhaul” would secure her vote. Other Republican Senators — including Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Dean Heller of Nevada, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Rob Portman of Ohio — have also voiced concerns over the bill’s negative impacts.
Last week, a Washington Post analysis found that a total of 12 Republican senators are opposed to the bill or have concerns with it.
A compromise like the one suggested by McConnell isn’t totally out of the question. Earlier this year, some Democratic senators met with centrist Republicans to discuss a bipartisan proposal to improve the markets established under Obamacare. But in a Congress as sharply divided as this one, it’s hard to imagine such a process working.
Featured image via The Hill.