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Republicans Lose Two Crucial Votes On GOP Health Bill

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The Senate Republicans lost two crucial votes on July 17 in their effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with the GOP health care bill.

Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas joined Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky in opposing the bill, which only has 48 Senate Republicans supporting it, two shy of passing, even with a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence, notes Talking Points Memo.

Lee tweeted: "My colleague [Jerry Moran] and I will not support the MTP to this version of BCRA #HealthcareBill."

Moran tweeted: "For the same reasons I could not support the previous version of this bill, I cannot support this one. #HealthcareBill."

Moran also tweeted a longer statement that criticized the Republican leadership's "closed door process." Moran also warned that continued U.S. government involvement in health care could turn it into a "single-payer system." 

The Commonwealth Fund recently ranked the U.S. health care system as the worst among the 11 developed nations. The U.S came in behind Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. All of the countries, except Switzerland and the U.S., have some form of universal health care.

The GOP Senate vote had been delayed because Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona had to have emergency surgery for a blood clot on July 14, which was covered by his government health care plan under the ACA, also called Obamacare.

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky released a statement on Twitter on July 17:

Regretfully, it's now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful. So, in the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care.

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President Donald Trump tweeted his support to repeal Obamacare without a replacement health care plan on July 17: "Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!"

Axios published its opinion on this new strategy of repealing health care coverage on millions of Americans without a replacement:

It's highly unlikely to succeed, but conservative groups won't consider the GOP's health care promises to be fulfilled until Republicans have at least tried a straight repeal vote. It will put enormous pressure on the moderates, who are sure to have reservations. But as conservatives will remind them, most of them already voted for straight repeal in 2015 -- and it will be hard to explain why they wouldn't do it again.

Sources: Talking Points MemoMitch McConnell/Twitter, Donald Trump/Twitter, Axios.comThe Commonwealth Fund / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons, United States Senate/Wikimedia Commons, US Senate/Wikimedia Commons

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