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‘Plan C’ on Health Law, Repeal Now, Replace Later, Has Collapsed 

click to enlarge Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 13, 2017. Republican Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Lee declared July 17 night they would oppose the Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, for now killing a seven-year-old promise to overturn President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement. - ERIC THAYER/THE NEW YORK TIMES
  • Eric Thayer/The New York Times
  • Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 13, 2017. Republican Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Lee declared July 17 night they would oppose the Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, for now killing a seven-year-old promise to overturn President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

By THOMAS KAPLAN
© 2017 New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON — With their bill to repeal and replace the health care law in tatters, Senate leaders Tuesday pushed to vote on a different measure that would repeal major parts of President Barack Obama’s health law without a replacement — but that plan appeared also to collapse.

Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, all Republicans, immediately declared they could not vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement — enough to doom the effort before it could get any momentum.

“I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” Capito said in a statement. “I cannot vote to repeal ‘Obamacare’ without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, hinted strongly that he too would oppose it.

By midday Tuesday, the Republican Party’s seven-year-old promise to repeal the health care law appeared broken. At the White House, President Donald Trump said his plan was now “to let Obamacare fail,” suggesting that Democrats would then seek out Republicans to work together on a health measure.

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, gamely pressed forward Tuesday even as the ground was giving way beneath him.

“I regret that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failures of Obamacare will not be successful,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday morning. “That doesn’t mean we should give up. We will now try a different way to bring the American people relief from Obamacare. I think we owe them at least that much.”

McConnell laid out plans for a vote on a measure like the one vetoed by Obama in January 2016, which, McConnell said, would include a “repeal of Obamacare combined with a stable, two-year transition period.”

That bill would have eliminated the health care law’s expansion of Medicaid and subsidies for the purchase of private insurance. But it would have left in place rules established by the health care law that require insurers to provide specific benefits and prohibit insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums because of a person’s pre-existing medical conditions.


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