GOP Sen. Mike Lee Says O’Care Repeal Bill Is ‘A Step In The Wrong Direction’

Rick Bowmer/AP

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said on Tuesday that House Republicans’ draft legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare is “a missed opportunity and a step in the wrong direction.”

“This is not the Obamacare repeal bill we’ve been waiting for,” Lee said in a statement. “We promised the American people we would drain the swamp and end business as usual in Washington. This bill does not do that.”

Lee, who spearheaded a 2013 campaign to defund Obamacare, criticized a provision in the draft legislation that would replace Obamacare’s federal insurance subsidies with a new form of individual income-based tax credits.

“We don’t know how many people would use this new tax credit, we don’t know how much it will cost, and we don’t know if this bill will make health care more affordable for Americans,” he said.

Lee called for Republicans to repeal Obamacare immediately and then take a more measured approach to replacing the health care law.

“Let’s fulfill our Obamacare repeal promise immediately and then take our time and do reform right,” he said.

As for the current draft, Lee said: “This is exactly the type of back-room dealing and rushed process that we criticized Democrats for, and it is not what we promised the American people.”

President Donald Trump showered praise Tuesday morning on the proposal, which he called “wonderful.” Several Republicans were markedly less enthusiastic.

“This is Obamacare lite. It will not pass. Conservatives aren’t going to take it,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said on Tuesday. “It is a real mistake to go for this.”

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) called on Tuesday for House Republicans to “rethink what they’re doing.”

“Right now, I am very, very discouraged and disappointed with what the House Republicans are introducing,” he said. “I don’t think it’s an improvement.”

And a top Senate Republican said that the proposal may not be able to get enough votes to reach Trump’s desk.

Vice Chairman of the Senate GOP conference Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said that he had not “had time to look at it in great depth yet” but was concerned about the proposal’s viability.

“What I don’t like is it may not be a plan that gets a majority of votes and lets us move on,” he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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