Murkowski: 'I just truly do not know' if I can support GOP health bill

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSessions torched by lawmakers for marijuana move Calif. Republican attacks Sessions over marijuana policy Trump's executive order on minerals will boost national defense MORE (R-Alaska), a potential key swing vote on an ObamaCare repeal-and-replace plan, isn’t sure she could support the emerging Senate Republican healthcare bill.

When asked Thursday if she had confidence she could eventually support a bill, Murkowski said she didn’t know. 

“I just truly do not know, because I don’t know where it’s going,” she said.

Murkowski wouldn’t commit when asked if she would support a seven-year phaseout of the Medicaid expansion, which some moderate GOP senators are pushing. Nor would she say whether she would support a slower phaseout or a faster one.  

“My position on Medicaid expansion and my support for it hasn’t changed," Murkowski said.

The Alaska Republican has previously said she wouldn’t vote to repeal the Medicaid expansion if the Alaska state Legislature wants to keep it. And she was one of four senators who sent a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE (R-Ky.) in early March saying they couldn't support a bill that didn't have protections for people in the Medicaid expansion population.

A group of moderate Republican senators led by Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanFlake's anti-Trump speech will make a lot of noise, but not much sense Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race Overnight Tech: Regulators to look at trading in bitcoin futures | Computer chip flaws present new security problem | Zuckerberg vows to improve Facebook in 2018 MORE (Ohio) want to gradually phase out federal funding for Medicaid expansion over a seven-year period from 2020 to 2027. Senators such as Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoGOP may increase IRS’s budget People with addiction issues should be able to control their own health data Trump signs bipartisan bill to combat synthetic opioids MORE (W.Va.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerDemocrats search for 51st net neutrality vote Nevada Dems unveil 2018 campaign mascot: 'Mitch McTurtle' Senate campaign fundraising reports roll in MORE (Nev.) have also recently spoken in support of the seven-year plan.

Medicaid is one of the biggest stumbling blocks on the path to repealing ObamaCare, and if moderates can support an eventual end to the Medicaid expansion, a compromise could be reached.

Senate leaders can only afford to lose two votes when they bring the legislation the floor. It’s a delicate balancing act, but if enough moderates can be convinced to support the bill, McConnell may not need conservative Republicans such as Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year Despite amnesty, DACA bill favors American wage-earners MORE (Ky.) or Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle With religious liberty memo, Trump made America free to be faithful again This week: Time running out for Congress to avoid shutdown MORE (Utah) to help pass the measure.

Closed-door discussions about the substance of the bill have been happening almost daily since the House voted last month, but the secretive nature of the process has left many senators unsure of what’s actually being included in the package.