Trump, administration press Republicans to back health bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and other administration officials lobbied Republicans today from both sides of the Atlantic to keep the Senate GOP's reworked health care bill from crashing, with the president saying wavering senators "must come through."
But the measure, culminating the GOP's seven years of pledging to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law, encountered turbulence from two influential Republican governors and the nation's largest doctors' group.
That complicated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's task of preventing even a single additional GOP senator from rejecting the legislation, which would kill it.
"After all of these years of suffering thru ObamaCare, Republican Senators must come through as they have promised!" the president tweeted before departing Paris, where he attended Bastille Day ceremonies.
McConnell, R-Ky., refashioned the legislation to attract GOP votes, two weeks after retreating on an initial version that would have died for lack of Republican support. The new package added language letting insurers sell discount-priced policies with minimal coverage aimed at winning over conservatives, and revised funding formulas that would mean federal money for states including Louisiana and Alaska – home to four GOP senators.
Fifty of the 52 Republican senators must back the bill in an initial vote McConnell plans for next week or, facing solid Democratic opposition, it will lose. GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Kentucky's Rand Paul have said they'll vote "no," leaving McConnell no wiggle room.
Trump's team tried winning over Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who's said GOP proposals to cut the Medicaid health care program for low-income people would unacceptably hurt the state. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., facing a difficult re-election battle next year, has taken the same stance, and Republicans believe one pathway to Heller's vote is through the popular governor.