Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Ron Johnson — AP
The Senate Republican healthcare process descended into disarray Thursday evening, as four GOP senators threatened to withhold support for a more moderate, “skinnier” attempt at repealing certain parts of the Affordable Care Act.
“I am not going to vote for the skinny bill if I’m not assured by the House there will be a conference where my idea and other ideas will be taken up so we can actually repeal Obamacare,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a press conference Thursday with Sens. John McCain, Ron Johnson, and Bill Cassidy.
Graham added: “I’m not going to vote for a bill that is terrible policy and horrible politics just because we have to get something done.”
The last-ditch, so-called skinny repeal effort would consist of a series of amendments would aim to repeal certain unpopular parts of the Affordable Care Act, including mandates to get health insurance.
At the end of the 20-hour debate period, if no bill has been picked up, the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would move on to the “skinny repeal” plan. If passed, it could lead to the House and Senate working together to compromise on one final bill in conference.
You’ll hear lots of rationales saying this is how a compromise will be worked out. The senators made it clear that compromise will include Democrats.
After the press conference, House Speaker Paul Ryan expressed a willingness to take the bill to conference.
“If moving forward requires a conference committee, that is something the House is willing to do,” he said.
The four GOP senators said they wanted assurances from House Republican leadership — including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — that they would not pass the bill, which Graham called a “fraud.”
The senators didn’t specify what kind of assurances they would request.
“It’s like pornography. You’ll know it when you see it,” Graham said.
No one in the Senate is ready to take Ryan’s word. If Trump is impeached – and Senators working on that plan to include Pence in any criminal cover-up – Ryan gets to be President. He can taste it, already.
The Senators realize that, too. And BTW everyone expects ANY conference on this bill to fail. Requiring a do-over.
The so-called skinny repeal of Obamacare is the kinder, gentler version of Republican politics. It would only screw 16 million eople out of health insurance.