Murkowski: ObamaCare bill ‘needs to be bipartisan’
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (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 Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), respectively the chairman and ranking member on the Senate Health Committee, are looking to restart bipartisan talks on an ObamaCare stabilization bill.
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (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.