Republican senators rolled out their much-anticipated health care bill Thursday after weeks of secrecy. Many Democrats and Republicans did not know what was in the bill that could overhaul one-sixth of the economy. The Democrats across the board did not like what they saw, calling it mean, but neither did some Republicans.
Four GOP senators, in particular, released a statement stating they aren’t ready to support the bill. They are Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” the statement read. “There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs.”
The bill was designed to be a budget reconciliation instead of new legislation and thus would need only a simple majority of Senate to pass the bill, as opposed to the customary 60-vote majority. The current make-up of the Senate is 52-48 in favor of Republicans. That means Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose two Republican votes in order to pass the bill. In the case of a 50-50 tie, Vice President Mike Pence casts the deciding vote.
The bill is meant to be the first step in repealing former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The bill calls for deep cuts to Medicaid and entitlement programs. It would also take money out of the marketplaces that the Affordable Care Act created. For Paul and the other three senators, the bill does not go far enough in cutting health care spending and dismantling the Affordable Care Act.