Health and Science

Nearly 60 members of Congress are seriously worried about GOP Obamacare replacement. And those are just the Republicans

Sen. Rand Paul
Eric Thayer | Reuters

With opponents like this, who needs Democrats to defeat repeal of Obamacare?

Nearly 60 Republican members of Congress have serious concerns with the leading plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, despite the fact that the bill is being pushed by GOP leadership, a new report reveals.

That high number of potential opponents — 20 senators and 36 members of the House of Representatives — could present GOP leaders with a mathematically impossible task of getting their American Health Care Act in front of President Donald Trump to sign into law.

The Republican caucus currently has 237 member in the House and Democrats have 193 members, giving the GOP fewer than two dozen votes to lose.

And Republicans can afford to lose just two votes of their 52 seats in the Senate, the Washington Post noted in a story about the number of concerned GOP lawmakers.

Democrats in both chambers of Congress are strongly against the GOP bill, and are unlikely to see any significant defections during a vote.

The Post, which is keeping a running tally of worried Republicans, said there are three senators and 13 House members who either oppose the GOP bill, or who are "leaning no."

Another 17 senators and 23 House members have "serious concerns about the bill," according to the newspaper.

Complicating the problem for GOP leaders is the fact that the potential Republican "no" votes on the bill are based on a range of concerns — some of which conflict with each other.

Some Republicans want a more aggressive repeal, which would lead to sharper reductions in federal aid for people getting health coverage.

Other lawmakers are worried that millions of people, including many who would have tended to vote for Trump as president, will lose private insurance or Medicaid coverage as a result of those funding reductions and other changes.

A number of GOP conservatives, including Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah, immediately opposed the AHCA when it was introduced in the House last week, saying the bill does not go far enough in repealing Obamacare.

Another Republican senator, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, told the Post in recent days, "I can tell you a number, if not a majority, of Republican senators think that this process has been too breakneck, too slapdash, and they do not see a good solution for the American people coming out of the House bill as drafted."

Worries among the GOP caucus have grown since Monday when the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 14 million more people would become uninsured next year than would be under Obamacare if the Republican bill becomes law. The CBO said that by 2026, there would be a total of 24 million more uninsured under that scenario.

A spokesman for Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the CBO estimates "gives Rep. Meehan pause." The spokesman noted that while there "are important reforms in this bill ... there are problems with it too."