Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hoping to send Senate Republicans home for the Fourth of July recess with a revised version of their health care bill, but it remains unclear if he can bridge the deep divides over the bill in his own party.
“Senator McConnell’s goal is to finish our work by this week so we can get an estimate from the CBO about the final cost of the bill, then we’ll be able to vote on it in July,” Sen. Lamar Alexander said.
With at least nine GOP Senators still opposed to the bill, having concerns that span the ideological spectrum, it’s unclear which aspects of the draft McConnell can change to get the 50 votes he needs for it to pass.
“That is an existential question,” Sen. Bill Cassidy told ABC News. “And it’s very hard for me to answer existential questions. Right now there’s still kind of, ‘can we do it?’ And I can’t answer that. I just can’t.”
“I’m totally optimistic. I think everything’s settled,” said a clearly sarcastic Sen. John McCain.
Even the no votes, who would presumably be getting the most courting, don’t know what’s on the negotiating table.
“I don’t know what the [majority] leader’s going to come up with this round. And there are a lot of different interests that he’s trying to accommodate,” said Sen. Susan Collins.
Who wants what?
Senators who have staked out a relatively moderate position on the bill, most of whom come from states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, are concerned that the bill as written would cause too much harm to recipients in their states.
Still other moderates, like Collins, oppose the bill’s scrapping of federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Collins told reporters Tuesday that it will take fundamental changes, not just tweaks, to get her on board.
Conservatives, like Sen. Ted Cruz, on the other hand, want insurers to be able to opt out of covering essential health benefits, required under Obamacare, like…