Five GOP senators now oppose health bill, enough to sink it

Dean Heller of Nevada, said he could not back his chamber's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Echoing the other four, Heller said he opposes the measure "in this form" but does not rule out backing a version that is changed to his liking. Democrats are united in opposition. Republicans say it costs too much and involves the federal government too much in healthcare. "The current bill as written is something that needs to change".

Under special rules McConnell is using that will block Democrats from using a filibuster to kill the bill, the legislation can not include provisions that make policy changes that don't primarily affect the budget.

"There are lots of frustrated senators saying they didn't like the process of writing this bill, [but] none of them saying they would use their power to do anything about it", says Zwillich.

Democrats immediately attacked the legislation as a callous giveaway to the rich that would leave millions without coverage. "If Republicans pass this bill, they're the death party".

Obama weighed in on Facebook. "Simply put, if there's a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family - this bill will do you harm". The plan would scale back aid to the poor and kill a tax on the wealthy. Minutes before Friday's press conference, the Nevada Democratic Party sent out a press release highlighting Heller's past statements and his previous votes to repeal Obamacare.

Conservative Republican Senator Rand Paul, who wants a full repeal of Obamacare, said he feared that with the legislation being developed, "we're actually going to be replacing Obamacare with Obamacare", referring to the continuing role of government.

In the same tweet, Clinton linked to a story by the Center for American Progress, an independent nonpartisan policy institute. Fewer than one in 3 Americans supports it, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.

These are the ways the Senate bill, or whatever compromise comes about, must be measured. The federal-state program provides health care to the poor, disabled and many nursing home patients. It would also allow states to add work requirements for some of the 70 million Americans who depend on the programme.

"We're concerned that it would lead to dramatic cuts in services or dramatic cuts in the number of beneficiaries who would rely on Medicaid", said Kristine Grow, a spokeswoman for AHIP. Three of them said they anxious it does not go far enough in repealing the ACA, known as Obamacare. Like the House, the Senate wants to eliminate the requirement that large employers offer insurance plans to their workers.

The bill was a revised version of a healthcare bill passed by the House of Representatives last month. The Senate bill would limit annual increases in Medicaid spending.

Asked about the bill's impact on Medicaid insurance coverage for lower-income Iowans, Ernst said, "I wouldn't say they are losing it".

"Republicans believe we have a responsibility to act, and we are", he said. And the Senate bill would take more time to phase out the ACA's expansion of Medicaid coverage; despite claims that this represents "heart", it may have less to do with compassion than skewing how the bill is scored by the Congressional Budget Office.

  • Larry Hoffman