WASHINGTON (AP/WATE) – The Republican-run Senate has rejected a GOP proposal to scuttle President Barack Obama’s health care law and give Congress two years to devise a replacement.
Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander was one of seven Republicans to vote against the measure, joining all Democrats Wednesday in a 45-55 vote defeating the plan. It was the second self-inflicted setback the GOP has suffered this week in trying to roll back Obama’s 2010 statute.
Conservatives have embraced the effort to repeal the law without an immediate replacement. GOP moderates have worried it would anger voters nervous that Congress would fail to enact a replacement.
Late Tuesday, nine Republicans joined Democrats in blocking a proposal by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to dismantle Obama’s law. It would have replaced it with eased coverage requirements for insurers, less generous federal health care subsidies and other changes.
Alexander’s office released a statement Wednesday afternoon:
“I agree with President Trump that we should repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act at the same time. In 2015, we could have waited two years for relief, but we cannot now, when Tennessee insurance commissioner Julie McPeak says the state’s individual insurance market is ‘very near collapse.’ We have 350,000 Tennesseans who buy insurance in the individual market—songwriters, small businessmen and women, farmers—who are worried today that they may have zero options for insurance in just six months.
“In addition, I don’t think Tennesseans would be comfortable canceling insurance for 22 million Americans, and trusting Congress to find a replacement in two years. Pilots like to know where they’re going to land when they take off, and we should too.”
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker voted in favor of the measure.
“As I have said before, I believe the best path forward is for Congress to repeal Obamacare after a reasonable transition period. This amendment would take us back to a level playing field where, by a date certain, all sides have incentive to work together to develop a health care replacement that would generate broad support and stand the test of time. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment and am eager to continue our work on this issue.”