Senate leaders have been trying to lock down Republican votes by funneling money to red states, engineering a special deal for Alaska and arguing that they could insure more people at a lower cost than the House, which passed a repeal bill last month.
But as more analysis of the bill reached state officials, especially in places that expanded Medicaid access under the Affordable Care Act, misgivings grew. Senator Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican and doctor who is considered a critical vote, said he remained undecided. Louisiana, with its high levels of poverty, recently expanded Medicaid.
“There are things in this bill which adversely affect my state, that are peculiar to my state,” Mr. Cassidy said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
The bill was drafted in secret, mainly by the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who unveiled it on Thursday. Mr. McConnell wants a vote this week, before lawmakers take a break for the Fourth of July holiday.
Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, usually a reliable vote for Senate Republican leaders, said on Fox News, “I just don’t know whether the votes will be there by the end of the week.”
Over the weekend, senators and their aides were poring over the bill, drafting possible amendments, preparing speeches and compiling personal stories from constituents whom they portrayed as either beneficiaries or victims of the Affordable Care Act.
But the bill’s supporters were battling an internal threat: reluctant Republicans. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said Sunday that “there’s no way we should be voting” on the legislation this week. “No way.”
“I have a hard time believing Wisconsin constituents or even…