McConnell: Senate will try to repeal ObamaCare with delayed replacement

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellEXCLUSIVE: Trump on reparations: 'I don't see it happening' Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Trump issues order to bring transparency to health care prices | Fight over billions in ObamaCare payments heads to Supreme Court Hillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns MORE (R-Ky.) said on Monday night the Senate will try to separate the ObamaCare repeal and replacement efforts, closing the door on the current GOP healthcare legislation. 

"In the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period," McConnell said in a statement. 

The move means Senate Republicans will try to repeal ObamaCare now, while kicking a replacement until after the 2018 midterm elections.

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The 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill passed the Senate 52-47, with Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations Hillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns Stephen King: 'It's time for Susan Collins to go' MORE (Maine) and then-Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkEx-GOP Sen. Kirk registers to lobby The global reality behind 'local' problems Dems vow swift action on gun reform next year MORE (Ill.) the only Republicans to oppose it. 

McConnell will need to overcome procedural hurdles if he wants the Senate to get to a vote on a repeal-only proposal. He'll need at least 51 senators to support getting on the House-passed legislation, which is being used as a vehicle for any Senate action. 

And separating the two could force Republicans to get 60 votes — and the support of Democrats — on the replacement legislation. 

It wasn't immediately clear when the Senate would try to pass the repeal legislation. The upper chamber is expected to be in session until Aug. 11, when members will leave town until early September.

McConnell's announcement comes after GOP Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Officials brief Congress after Iran shoots down drone | Lawmakers fear 'grave situation' | Trump warns Iran | Senate votes to block Saudi arms sales | Bombshell confession at Navy SEAL's murder trial The 7 GOP senators who voted to block all or part of Trump's Saudi arms sale Senate votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale MORE (Utah) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranOvernight Defense: Officials brief Congress after Iran shoots down drone | Lawmakers fear 'grave situation' | Trump warns Iran | Senate votes to block Saudi arms sales | Bombshell confession at Navy SEAL's murder trial The 7 GOP senators who voted to block all or part of Trump's Saudi arms sale Senate votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale MORE (Kan.) said Monday night that they couldn't support the current legislation, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

With a 52-seat majority McConnell can only afford to lose two GOP senators and still rely on Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceBolton presses Iran to withdraw forces from Syria, areas of conflict EXCLUSIVE: Trump accuses Biden of lying about Obama's lack of endorsement Leaked Trump transition vetting documents show numerous officials with 'red flags': Axios MORE break a tie. GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWe're all on the tarmac, waiting for an Iran policy This week: Congress set for clash on Trump's border request Washington braces for Trump's next move on Iran MORE (Ky.) were already expected to oppose the legislation. 

With four Republican senators opposed to the current GOP bill, McConnell officially closed the door on the legislation late Monday night. 

“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful," he said. 

It remains to be seen if McConnell will be able to wrangle enough support to repeal ObamaCare without a replacement plan hashed out. 

Repeal with a delayed replacement was Senate GOP leadership's original plan, which they backed away from earlier this year due to lack of support.  

McConnell himself shot down the idea earlier this month, instead warning that Republicans could be forced to work with Democrats to stabilize the insurance market. 

"We are going to stick with that path," McConnell said at an event in Kentucky earlier this month. "Failure has to be possible or you can't have success."

But even as McConnell continued to push back against separating ObamaCare repeal and replacement, moving a repeal-only bill gained the support of President Trump and a growing number of conservative senators. 

"Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!" Trump tweeted on Monday night after Lee and Moran's statements.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — who teamed up with Lee and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz Hickenlooper, Bennet bring deep ties to 2020 debate stage 2020 Democrat Bennet releases comprehensive government reform plan GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers MORE (R-Texas) earlier this year to demand "full repeal" — quickly added on Twitter: "As @realDonaldTrump and I discussed last week. Clean repeal now!"

Repealing portions of ObamaCare without enacting a replacement could leave 18 million people without health insurance the following year, according to a report released Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in January.

After the elimination of ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies, 27 million people would lose insurance, and then 32 million by 2026, the CBO found.

The 2015 measure guts the law by repealing authority for the federal government to run healthcare exchanges and scrapping subsidies to help people afford plans bought through those exchanges. It zeros out the penalties on individuals who do not buy insurance and employers who do not offer health insurance.

The push to separate repeal and replacement comes after some GOP senators used the setback on the Senate bill to instead argue for a bipartisan process, with open hearings.
 
“The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation's governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care," Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainVeterans group to hand out USS John McCain T-shirts for July 4 on the National Mall Will we ever have another veteran as president? Meghan McCain clashes with Joy Behar as the 'sacrificial Republican' on 'The View' MORE (R-Ariz.) said in a statement. 
 
Moran, in announcing his opposition, also said senators should "start fresh with an open legislative process."