On Monday evening, two more Republican Senators announced that they do not support the proposed GOP health care plan, all but assuring the bill's failure in its current state. In an admission of defeat, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that instead of creating a new plan, the Senate will vote to repeal Obamacare without replacing it. But when exactly will this vote happen?
According to McConnell's statement, the repeal vote could take place "in the coming days."
Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful ... In the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period.
McConnell is referring to a 2015 effort led by GOP lawmakers to repeal then-President Obama's signature achievement. While the bill did pass the Senate in a 52-47 vote along partisan lines, it was ultimately vetoed by President Obama. According to Politico, the 2015 vote was more of a symbolic statement than an actual policy proposal given the certainty of an Obama veto.
While the proposal to repeal Obamacare without an established replacement has the endorsement of President Trump, who argues that a "clean slate" is necessary for success, Republican senators may not be so quick to jump on board. The plan could thrust insurance markets into uncertainty while causing millions of Americans to lose insurance coverage.
In spite of this, McConnell's announcement displays just how adamant some Republican leaders are to repeal a key aspect of Obama's legacy — and just how desperate they are for a win. The Republican health care bill was drafted largely in secret to avoid public scrutiny before the Senate vote, and McConnell even announced plans to delay the Senate's recess by two weeks to ensure the bill's success.
Still, GOP efforts to appeal to both moderates and hard-line conservatives proved unsuccessful. After two Republican Senators announced on Monday that they would not support the bill, the count of GOP defectors was bumped up to four. The bill could only afford to lose three Republican votes.
While the future of American health care in uncertain given Monday's developments, McConnell's statement proves that Republicans aren't giving up on their seven-year promise to repeal Obamacare without a fight.