Senate leaders put off a vote on Republicans’ health care bill until after the July 4 recess, according to a person familiar with the plans, amid growing opposition from GOP members to the plan drafted in secret by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The decision to delay the vote planned for this week follows announcements by at least five Republicans that they’ll vote to block Senate debate on the bill. McConnell needs support from at least 50 of the 52 Republicans to move forward with the measure.
President Donald Trump invited all Senate Republicans to the White House for a meeting on health care Tuesday afternoon, according to the person.
The delay is the latest roadblock Republicans have encountered in trying to deliver on their seven-year promise to repeal and potentially replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Repealing Obamacare was also a top campaign promise by Trump. The House mustered barely enough votes to pass its proposal on May 4 after having to cancel earlier vote plans for lack of support.
Republican leaders wanted to formally introduce the plan as early as Tuesday, but defections started even before the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said late Monday that the bill would leave an additional 22 million Americans without health insurance in a decade.
Part of Republicans’ argument for urgency in replacing Obamacare is their repeated assertion that the health care system is collapsing. While insurers including Aetna Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Humana Inc. have pulled out of the individual market in some states, part of that decision stems from uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act as Republicans seek to dismantle that law.
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