Nevada's Heller becomes 5th GOP senator opposed to health bill

Mr Obama wrote that "health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did".

But other provisions aimed at enticing conservative senators could bring more sweeping cuts to the expansion program than the health care bill approved by House Republicans.

Senator Roger Wicker of MS expressed some disappointment that the new bill bears too many similarities to Obamacare.

Heller, who faces re-election in 2018 in the Democratic-leaning state, said on Friday: "I can not support a piece of legislation that takes away insurance from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans".

A quarter of Coloradans use Medicaid, and because the Senate health care bill wants to roll back the expansion, it could affect The Centennial State in a major way.

Former Indiana State Health commissioner Woody Myers says the bill worsens an already-weakened health care situation after large insurers this week left Indiana's Obamacare marketplace - something Myers blames federal Republicans for. Early next week, the Congressional Budge Office will submit a report evaluating how many people would lose their insurance due to the bill as well as its impact on the federal budget.

As he has multiple times since the ACA's passage in 2010, Obama conceded that the bill was less than ideal and vowed to support any Republican-backed bill that "is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost".

On Fox News Friday, Trump said "It's not that they're opposed".

Lawmakers will be "looking to see if there are things that we can do to refine it, and make it more acceptable to more members in our conference, to get to 50", Senator John Thune said.

Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell has pushed for a vote on the bill next week, but at least four Republicans have publicly voiced their opposition to the bill.

Johnson said he did not agree with GOP leadership's decision to develop the bill in secret.

McConnell, eager to approve the legislation next week, indicated he was open to changes before it reaches the Senate floor, but he said it was time to act. Veteran Senator John McCain said the draft bill was better than Obamacare in "100 ways", but like many Senators wanted to study the bill further and consult with his state's governor. None of the Senate's 48 Democrats are expected to support the package, meaning the legislation survives only if no more than two Republicans vote no.

"We have to act", McConnell said.

"I will study the bill to determine whether it fulfills President Trump's campaign promises to lower premiums, maintain coverage and protect those with preexisting conditions without mandates", he said.

Appealing to Congress and the U.S. people, Mr Obama said the 142-page plan had a "fundamental meanness" at its core and was "not a healthcare bill".

  • Joanne Flowers