GOP divided on ObamaCare replacement

GOP divided on ObamaCare replacement
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GOP senators unveiled a new replacement for ObamaCare this week, but few conservatives are rallying around it.

The same week the GOP House voted for a fourth time to fully repeal ObamaCare, the party remains divided over what would come next.


Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform Dem says marijuana banking bill will get House vote this spring Trump appears alongside Ocasio-Cortez on Time 100 list MORE (R-Ohio) said the latest proposal from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchHatch warns 'dangerous' idea of court packing could hurt religious liberty Former Democratic aide pleads guilty to doxing GOP senators attending Kavanaugh hearing How do we prevent viral live streaming of New Zealand-style violence? MORE (R-Utah) and other Republicans would be one part of the conversation on replacing ObamaCare, hardly a ringing endorsement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller Anti-smoking advocates question industry motives for backing higher purchasing age Former Bush assistant: Mueller report makes Obama look 'just plain bad' MORE (R-Ky.) did not make any public comments on the plan and declined to comment to The Hill through a representative.

Even Hatch and the plan’s other sponsors — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrGOP senator: 'No problem' with Mueller testifying Collins backs having Mueller testify Graham says he's 'not interested' in Mueller testifying MORE (R-N.C.) — acknowledged the difficulty in uniting their party.

In an interview with Fox News late Thursday, Burr said he did not believe that Republicans would rally around a single alternative before the presidential election.

“I think that there are going to be a lot of ideas not only in Congress but around the think tanks here in Washington and around the country,” Burr told Fox News’s Bret Baier.

The GOP has been scrambling for a replacement plan for years, though the clock is now ticking, with the looming Supreme Court case, King v Burwell, that could eliminate insurance subsidies essential to the law. The court's decision, which will be argued March 4, is expected in June.  

The legislation approved by the House asks several committees to get to work on a replacement plan. But it includes no deadlines for their work.

With a crowded field of prospective 2016 GOP candidates for the White House, it's possible there could be a number of competing Republicans plans. 

While multiple groups of Republicans have worked on replacement options since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, none has evolved into a bill, drawing attacks from Democrats.

“My Republican friends have had five years and they still haven’t produced actual legislation,” Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates More than 30 Senate Dems ask Trump to reconsider Central American aid cuts Long-shot goal of nixing Electoral College picks up steam MORE (D-Conn.) told reporters Thursday as he condemned the new GOP plan.

Hours before the Republican trio officially unveiled its plan, a group of Senate and House aides stressed to reporters that creating a full replacement bill would be a long process.

One aide said that it would be hard to believe that a full replacement would happen before 2017, though the staffs were preparing for it. The aide said their bosses wanted to put credible ideas out there because they were tired of hearing that the party had no ideas.

One of the plan’s only endorsements came from freshman Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine), who was facing pressure after bucking the party on the ObamaCare repeal vote earlier in the week. But he too said that he wanted to consider all the options.

“There'll be several other plans put on the table over the coming weeks. I look forward to evaluating each of them,” Poliquin said in a video released by his office.