McConnell admits Obamacare repeal defeat after losing GOP support

Sen. Mitch McConnell acknowledged a second failed attempt at rolling back Obamacare on Monday and said the Senate will vote to repeal the health care legislation, with a two-year delay.

“It is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” the Senate Majority Leader said after Sens. Jerry Moran and Mike Lee announced they would not support the crumbling legislation.

McConnell said the Senate will vote on a health care policy regardless of this week’s setbacks, and approve a version of the House bill equipped with an amendment already supported by the Senate — and later vetoed by former President Barack Obama in January 2016.

The nixed legislation passed the Senate with a 52-47 vote in December 2015 and would have repealed Obama’s Affordable Care Act and stripped federal funding from Planned Parenthood.

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The delayed repeal gives lawmakers two years to brainstorm a replacement, according to the Kentucky lawmaker.

McConnell was left with little recourse after losing the support of two senators ahead of the high-anticipated vote, which was already delayed pending Sen. John McCain’s recovery from surgery Friday. The 80-year-old lawmaker was treated for a blood clot in Arizona. 

The convalescing senator, McCain, issued a statement urging Congress to essentially start over with bipartisan support.

Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced they will oppose the latest health care bill.

Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced they will oppose the latest health care bill.

(John Hanna/Rick Bowmer/AP)

“The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care,” McCain said.

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Moran and Lee’s pivotal opposition Monday followed prior messages of disapproval for earlier versions of the GOP health care bill.

“There are serious problems with Obamacare, and my goal remains what it has been for a long time: to repeal and replace it,” said Moran (R-Kan.), later suggesting the federal government should leave health care to the states.

He said the latest incarnation pitched by McConnell on Thursday fails to “address health care’s rising costs.”

“For the same reasons I could not support the previous version of this bill, I cannot support this one,” Moran said, announcing his decision to vote no alongside Lee (R-Utah).

The senators dropped their news simultaneously, prompting Trump to fire back on Twitter.

“Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in,” the President said.

In Lee’s statement, he blamed his opposition to the Senate bill’s failure to lower “premiums for middle class families,” adding that it does not “create enough space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) already said on Sunday they were against the bill pending its delayed vote, with Collins saying at least 10 senators had expressed “serious concerns.”

A previous Senate proposal would have left 22 million people without health insurance by 2026, according to a Congressional Budget Office report. The same office was slated to release a similar analysis Monday, ahead of the highly-anticipated vote, but the Senate Budget Committee on Sunday said the report had been postponed. The group offered no explanation.  

With News Wire Services 

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