Some GOP Senators Come Out Against Health Bill Only After Announced Delay

FILE - In this Tuesday, June 20, 2017 file photo, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, pauses for a reporter's question as he arrives at a closed-door GOP strategy session on the Republican health care overhaul with Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and others, at the Capitol in Washington. Days after it's release, Portman faces intense pressure back home to oppose the Senate’s GOP health care bill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

After Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced a delay on the vote for the health care bill Republicans introduced last week, a few GOP senators, who were reluctant to come out against the bill before the announcement, said they couldn’t support the plan Tuesday afternoon.

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) took to Twitter to say he was “pleased” with the delay to vote on the bill, noting that the current plan “missed the mark” for his constituents and did not have his support.

Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Shelley Capito (R-WV), who were on the radar as noncommittal or potential opponents of the bill, issued a joint statement Tuesday confirming their opposition, saying they’d like to repeal Obamacare, but not with this current plan and highlighted issues that need to be addressed in their home states.

“The Senate draft before us includes some promising changes to reduce premiums in the individual insurance market, but I continue to have real concerns about the Medicaid policies in this bill, especially those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic,” Portman said. “For months, I have engaged with my colleagues on solutions that I believe are necessary to ensure that we improve our health care system and better combat this opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, the Senate draft falls short and therefore I cannot support it in its current form.”

He added that he’s committed to working with his colleagues to come up with a plan that fixes health care and protects “Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Capito said she’s “consistently looked for opportunities to improve” Obamacare and says she still believes Congress needs to “scrap what is not working and create a better health care reality” for her constituents.

“I recognize that many West Virginians rely on health coverage and access to substance abuse treatment because of my state’s decision to expand coverage through Medicaid. I have studied the draft legislation and CBO analysis to understand its impact on West Virginians,” she said. “As drafted, this bill will not ensure access to affordable health care in West Virginia, does not do enough to combat the opioid epidemic that is devastating my state, cuts traditional Medicaid too deeply and harms rural health care providers.”

She said her concerns will need to be addressed before she can support the bill moving forward.

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