Republican Obamacare repeal loses crucial support

  • 25/09/2017
Susan Collins.
Susan Collins. Photo credit: Getty

A proposal by US Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare has suffered new setbacks after two pivotal senators from the party dug in with criticisms of the bill that President Donald Trump is pushing for quick passage.

Senator Susan Collins, who just two days ago said she was "leaning against" the legislation, on Sunday declared in an interview on CNN that "it is very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill".

Ms Collins said her concerns centred on the impact the legislation would have on the federal Medicaid program that helps disabled children and low-income elderly people get healthcare.

Mr Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can afford to lose the support of only two Republicans, assuming all Democrats vote against the measure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act better known as Obamacare.

Senators John McCain and Rand Paul already have expressed opposition.

Mr Paul, in an interview on NBC, attacked the centrepiece of the Republican bill that would have the federal government basically turn the health insurance system over to states in the form of "block grants."

"They could remove the block grants from it, and we can vote on what we actually on agree on," Mr Paul said. "I can't in good conscience vote to keep all the spending."

Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate. If two Republican senators vote against the bill, Vice President Mike Pence would probably cast the deciding, tie-breaker vote to win passage.

A third Republican "no" vote sank a different version of Obamacare repeal in July.