In Senate, Almost Every Vote Holds the Power to Destroy Health Care Deal

GOP leaders keep eyes on shaky two-vote majority

With his razor-thin majority, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) can’t afford to lose more than two GOP votes on a bill to overhaul the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). That turns each Republican senator into a de facto powerbroker with the ability to shape—or kill—the legislation simply by aligning with two other GOP members, according to an article posted on the Politico website.

More of those alliances appear to be springing up almost daily, the article says. In one corner, five Republicans led by Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana want to give states the power to enact their own health care plans—including keeping the PPACA, if they so choose. In another corner, a group of moderates worry about repealing the PPACA’s Medicaid expansion, which has provided coverage to millions of their residents and pumped billions of federal dollars into their states.

What to do about Medicaid expansion is the biggest fault line between the Senate’s feuding GOP factions, according to the article. On April 9, Republican senators from states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the PPACA met to discuss their options.

Meanwhile, a group of 13 senators backed by Republican leadership is hoping to bridge the divide between conservatives and centrists by keeping everybody focused on the GOP’s promise to “repeal and replace” the PPACA.

Source: Politico; May 11, 2017.