Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) threw in the towel on Monday night after two more conservative Republican senators came out in opposition to the latest version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act — the Senate version of the GOP’s controversial health care reform bill that passed the House in May.

Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) announced their opposition to the bill’s current form on Monday night, with Moran calling for an open legislative process on Twitter:

With two Republican senators, moderate Susan Collins of Maine and libertarian Rand Paul of Kentucky, already opposed to the bill, McConnell could not afford to lose any more Republican votes. Senate Republicans hold a slim 52-48 majority, and all Democrats are opposed to repeal of Obama’s signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act. Moran’s and Lee’s defection made it impossible to reach the 50 votes needed to bring BCRA to the floor for a vote.

“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” McConnell said in a statement.

McConnell announced that the Senate would, instead, take up an earlier House bill and proceed to a vote for a clean repeal of Obamacare, with no replacement plan, adding that the repeal would be delayed for two years so as “to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered healthcare system.”

In other words, Republicans would like to postpone the pain of an outright Obamacare repeal — which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would result in 32 million Americans losing their health care coverage and another 19 million losing Medicaid over the next ten years — until after the 2018 midterm elections.

In the first year following repeal, according to the CBO, premiums would rise by as much as 50% and would eventually double over the next ten years mainly because once the individual mandate, which requires all Americans to have health insurance, is repealed, insurers will be forced to pull out of the market or to charge older and sicker Americans more in order to cover the costs of a significantly smaller pool of high-risk enrollees.

Despite seven years of promising to repeal and replace Obamacare, Republicans still don’t have a real plan.

On the one hand, conservatives would like to undo as much of Obamacare as they possibly can, regardless of the disastrous consequences. Moderates, on the other hand, are unwilling to let tens of millions lose coverage or to do away with some of its most popular provisions.

Meanwhile, a half-dozen other so-called GOP moderates wary of making significant changes to the ACA’s Medicaid provisions, namely its Medicaid expansion program — including Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Rob Portman (R-OH), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — were still undecided about the bill when McConnell finally pulled it.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York was quick to comment in a statement, “This second failure of Trumpcare is proof positive that the core of this bill is unworkable.”

President Donald Trump, however, chose to pin the blame on Democrats after Monday night’s collapse of Republicans’ effort in the Senate.

– Danielle Bizzarro
 

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