The number of GOP senators who say they will not vote for the Obamacare-repeal bill is now up to five, following an announcement on Friday by Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada), who said that he cannot vote for the bill in its current form. Speaking during a news conference alongside Nevade Gov.
Brian Sandoval, Heller criticized the bill’s cuts to Medicaid and to subsidies for individual coverage, which he said would fall too hard on Nevada residents.
“It’s going to be very difficult to get me to yes,” said Heller. “I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes insurance away from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans.”
Sandoval is a Republican, but he accepted Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in his state. The governor praised the Medicaid expansion, which he said enrolled 210,000 state residents, during the news conference.
“They’re living healthier and happier lives because of it,” Sandoval said.
Senators Ran Paul (R-Ky.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) have also said that they oppose the bill, albeit for opposite reasons than Heller—they think that the bill does not go far enough to roll back Obamacare and cut public health-care spending.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will have to make enough concessions to these three if he wants to assure the bill’s passage. But he may also need to make some further compromises to moderate Republicans. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said that she would support the bill, but only if it undergoes certain changes, one of which is to soften the impact of the Medicaid changes.