SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Sen. Mike Lee is one of four Republicans who say they are “not ready” to vote in favor of the party’s health care reform legislation after it was unveiled in the U.S. Senate on Thursday.
“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,” Lee said in a joint statement with Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Rand Paul, R-Ky.
The group’s opposition potentially presents a major obstacle for Republicans’ long-held goal of rolling back former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
The Senate plan cuts and reshapes Medicaid for the poor, ends Obama’s tax penalties on people who don’t buy insurance — effectively ending the so-called individual mandate — and on larger companies that don’t offer coverage to their workers. It would offer less generous subsidies for people than Obama’s law but provide billions to states and insurance companies to buttress markets that in some areas have been abandoned by insurers.
No Democrats are expected to vote in favor of the GOP’s proposed health reform — passed in the House in May as the American Health Care Act and re-introduced Thursday as the Better Care Reconciliation Act — leaving Republicans with room for just two dissenting votes from within their own ranks, assuming Vice President Mike Pence will vote in favor of the bill.
Lee said he was still studying the text of the bill, but continues to prefer a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act in order to ignite bipartisan cooperation from Democrats.
“That is the only way that I think we would end up with bipartisan support for whatever comes next, whatever comes after Obamacare,” Lee told KSL NewsRadio’s Doug…