Republican efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act collapsed in the Senate on Monday evening as two more GOP senators announced they would oppose the plan backed by their party’s leadership.
The announcements by Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas brought to four the number of Republican senators opposed to bringing the bill to the Senate floor for debate. With all Senate Democrats against the bill, their opposition was enough to kill the current measure.
“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” Moran said in a statement. “We must now start fresh.”
Lee said that he opposed the plan because it would not lower costs for healthy Americans whose insurance premiums were pushed up by the need to subsidize costs for those who were ill.
“In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle-class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations,” Lee said in a statement, referring to the current bill.
The sudden announcement from Lee, a leading conservative, and Moran, who headed the Senate Republican Campaign Committee in the 2014 election, came as President Trump was dining at the White House with several GOP supporters of the bill. That timing made their announcements a more stinging rebuke of the White House’s efforts on behalf of the measure.
A White House spokesperson said that Trump would continue to push for repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
“Inaction is not an option,” the spokesperson said. “We look forward to Congress continuing to work toward a bill the president can sign to end the Obamacare nightmare and restore quality care at affordable prices.”
Two other Republican lawmakers, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, had previously announced that they would oppose the bill. With 52 Republicans in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could afford their two…