WASHINGTON ― Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) doesn’t think the Republican-controlled Congress is going to succeed in passing a health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this year.
Speaking to local TV station WXII 12 News, Burr said, “I don’t see a comprehensive health care plan this year.”
“It’s unlikely that we will get a health care deal, which means that most of my time has been spent trying to figure out solutions to Iowa losing all of its insurers, to Tennessee potentially losing theirs,” Burr said. He was referring to states where struggling insurers have withdrawn or threatened to withdraw, potentially leaving consumers with no options for buying subsidized coverage. Iowa, for example, is down to one insurer for most of the state ― and that insurer has warned it may have to pull out.
He added that the health care bill passed by the House about a month ago is “not a good plan” and was “dead on arrival” in the Senate, which plans to craft its own version.
Pressed by the reporter that President Donald Trump wouldn’t be happy about the Senate ignoring the House bill, Burr said the issue was “too important to get wrong.”
Burr isn’t alone in his skepticism. A number of Senate Republicans have voiced concern about the process the upper chamber has followed in crafting its version of the bill: private meetings, no hearings and little input from experts.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last week that he wasn’t even sure how his Republican conference would get enough votes to pass an Obamacare repeal and replace bill.
“I don’t know how we get to 50 [votes] at the moment,” he told Reuters.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters last week the expects to send a bill to the president by the time Congress leaves for its monthlong August recess.