Less than a day after more Republican defections doomed the Senate’s “repeal and replace” health care legislation, the option of “repeal now and replace later” went down in flames as well. Three GOP Senators immediately said they couldn’t vote for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) without a replacement.
Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Shelley Moore Capito, (W.V.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) all said they would not support a repeal-only bill.
The defection of the three means the Republicans can’t even bring the repeal measure to a vote. With a slim 52-seat majority in the Senate, the Republicans can lose only two votes and still have a chance of passing legislation without any Democrat votes (50 yeas plus a deciding vote by the president of the Senate, Mike Pence, who is also vice president of the United States).
“I believe we must continue to push forward now,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) told colleagues. “I regret that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failures of Obamacare will not be successful. That doesn’t mean we should give up.”
Hearing the news, President Trump told reporters that “we’ll just let Obamacare fail.”