The future of the Republican effort to squash Obamacare hung in the balance Monday with Senator John McCain, whose vote is needed to pass the legislation, recovering from surgery away from Washington.
In the end, Republicans may be forced to negotiate with Democrats, which Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, has been calling for for weeks. Personally, I have trouble believing John McCain somehow suddenly scheduled a procedure - where someone is drilling into his skull - just to play games with a healthcare vote.
"This bill would make sweeping and deep cuts to the Medicaid program, which has been a safety net program on the books for more than 50 years, ensuring that some of our most vulnerable citizens, our disabled children, our low-income seniors, receive the health care that they need", Collins told ABC's "This Week".
Republican critics of the Senate's latest version of health-care legislation were energized after leaders postponed votes on the measure, yet another sign the bill's fortunes are in limbo. McConnell has delayed the health care vote until McCain returns, because without him, they don't have the votes to advance the legislation.
Rand Paul is still holding out for the president to jump into this.
Eight to 10 Republican U.S. senators have serious concerns about Republican healthcare legislation to roll back Obamacare, moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins, who opposes the bill, said on Sunday.
A number of other Republicans including Senators Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Dean Heller of Nevada, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of OH, have also expressed serious reservations about the bill in its current form. Ted Cruz's amendment - a key provision added to the bill that won over Cruz and may help bring on board others.
But doing so also curbed the amount of time McConnell had to strike deals or make tweaks that would make senators more comfortable voting for it. McConnell now has a bigger time cushion to gather support.
The pending voting on the Senate #Healthcare Bill hit an impasse on Saturday, July 15th, 2017. Insurers have even admitted that they are raising premiums and pulling out of exchanges because of the uncertainty in the market created by Republicans. Republican governors like Brian Sandoval of Nevada and John Kasich of OH have fought against the bill, partly because of its rollback of Medicaid expansion.
Speaking to Republican staffers over the weekend, nobody really has a firm idea of when McCain will be back - it's far from a guarantee that he'll be back after this week. Dean Heller of Nevada and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a pivotal vote for Republicans who is undecided on the current version.
The GOP also inserted a provision into the latest bill that would exempt members of Congress and their staffs from no longer receiving essential health benefits. A previous assessment said 22 million people would lose their insurance by 2026, and a new score is expected on Tuesday or later this week.