Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, D-Kty., has postponed the vote on the health care bill until after the July 4 recess. The delay comes a day after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scored H.R. 1628, Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, the Senate amendment to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in May.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this article claimed the vote was delayed until after the August recess, when in fact it was the July 4 recess. The mistake has been corrected.
“We’re going to continue the discussion,” Leader McConnell said after a closed-door meeting with Republicans where he informed them of the delay. “We will not be on the bill this week.”
The CBO and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) said the legislation would reduce the cumulative federal deficit over the 2017-2026 period by $321 billion, about $202 billion more than the estimated net savings for the version of H.R. 1628 that was passed by the House.
The report also claimed the Senate bill would increase the number of people who are uninsured by 22 million in 2026 relative to the number under ObamaCare, slightly fewer than the increase in the number of uninsured estimated for the House-passed legislation.
Leader McConnell said he wants changes to be scored again by CBO before a vote.
Four conservative Republican senators including Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rand Paul, R-Kty., have all said they don’t support the bill in its current form. Moderate Republican senators including Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Dean Heller, R-Nev., also indicated they would not support it.
“I want to work w/ my GOP & Dem colleagues to fix the flaws in ACA,” Sen. Collins tweeted in the first of 3 tweets. “CBO analysis shows Senate bill won’t do it. I will vote no on mtp.”
The conservative Club for Growth, which backed the House version of the AHCA, said they will oppose the Senate bill. Club for Growth President David McIntosh said in a statement that it will “restore” ObamaCare, not repeal it, and create new mandates and taxes.
“Only in Washington does repeal translate to restore,” Mr. McIntosh said in email. “Because that’s exactly what the Senate GOP healthcare bill does: it restores Obamacare.
“And while it’s hard to imagine, in some ways the Senate’s legislation would make our nation’s failing healthcare system worse,” he said.
Outside conservative groups have been cool to the Senate bill, which could face a procedural vote on Wednesday. But most of the groups have held their fire so far.
McIntosh said the Club for Growth will support the bill’s passage if it makes three changes: allow insurers that sell ObamaCare plans to sell other plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare requirements or allow states to opt out of all ObamaCare regulations, allow people to pay for premiums with health savings accounts (HSAs), and repeal all ObamaCare taxes.
“Absent these reasonable changes to drive down the cost of premiums and provide consumers with more choices and more freedom, the Club for Growth will oppose the ‘Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017,’” McIntosh said.
Meanwhile, President Donald J. Trump has invited all 52 Senate Republicans to the White House on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the bill. Sen. Paul already met with President Trump on Tuesday to discuss health care.
The meeting is set for 4 p.m. ET.