Murkowski: ObamaCare bill 'needs to be bipartisan'

Murkowski: ObamaCare bill 'needs to be bipartisan'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenators press administration on mental health parity Overnight Energy: Watchdogs unveil findings on EPA, Interior controversies | GAO says EPA violated law with soundproof booth | IG says Zinke could have avoided charter flight | GOP chair probes Pruitt's four email addresses GOP fractures over push to protect Russia probe MORE (R-Alaska) said Wednesday that ObamaCare-related legislation "needs to be bipartisan" following the collapse of GOP efforts to repeal the health-care law this week.

"You know what, I think it needs to be bipartisan and that's why I'm working with Sen. Alexander and Sen. Murray," Murkowski said when asked whether a Republican-only ObamaCare bill could pass next year.

Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe risk of kicking higher ed reauthorization down the road Maternal deaths keep rising in US, raising scrutiny Supreme Court weighs future of online sales taxes MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayThe risk of kicking higher ed reauthorization down the road Trump admin announces abstinence-focused overhaul of teen pregnancy program Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes MORE (D-Wash.), respectively the chairman and ranking member on the Senate Health Committee, are looking to restart bipartisan talks on an ObamaCare stabilization bill.

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Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamKorean peace talks pose new challenge for Trump GOP sold Americans a bill of goods with tax reform law Republicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller MORE (R-S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyTrump has not invited Democrats, media to state dinner: report Republicans have a long way to go toward fully repealing ObamaCare Senators press administration on mental health parity MORE (R-La.) say they are not giving up on their bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare after GOP leaders declined to hold a vote on the legislation this week. The pair are eyeing another push for their bill next year.

Murkowski's vote is critical. She was one of three GOP senators who voted to sink a GOP repeal bill in July, and the Trump administration sought to put pressure on her to vote for the latest repeal bill.

Her comments on Wednesday cast doubt on whether she would vote for the Graham-Cassidy measure next year, which no Democrats support. 

Murkowski has not said she opposes the bill, which dismantles ObamaCare's insurer subsidy program and Medicaid expansion, converting the funding to block grants for states. Instead, the Alaska senator has said she needs more information while praising the general idea of giving more power to states.

The GOP senator said she did not take a position "because we weren't having a vote on it."

"There's some clear fundamentals with what Graham-Cassidy laid down that hey, as a Republican, I can get behind more flexibility, more state control," she said to a small group of reporters. "But the substance matters, the data matters and we had not yet received what Alaska specifically asked for."

Murkowski said the "entire team" of Alaska officials had been with her in Washington for three days going over the bill.