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

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate panel deadlocks over Biden pick to lead DOJ civil rights division Senate GOP dismayed by vote to boot Cheney Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP 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.

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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 McConnellFormer OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden Lawmakers reach agreement on bipartisan Jan. 6 commission The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Masks off: CDC greenlights return to normal for vaccinated Americans 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 PortmanCarper urges Biden to nominate ambassadors amid influx at border Fudge violated the Hatch Act, watchdog finds House conservatives take aim at Schumer-led bipartisan China bill 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 CapitoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Masks off: CDC greenlights return to normal for vaccinated Americans Infrastructure deal imperiled by differences on financing On The Money: Biden, Senate GOP take step toward infrastructure deal as other plans hit speed bumps MORE (W.Va.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play 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 PaulGOP lawmaker calls for Wuhan probe to 'prevent the next pandemic' All congressional Democrats say they have been vaccinated: CNN Fauci on Rand Paul: 'I just don't understand what the problem is with him' MORE (Ky.) or Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Energy: Colonial Pipeline says it has restored full service | Biden urges people not to panic about gasoline shortages | EPA rescinds Trump-era cost-benefit rule Senate panel advances Biden's deputy Interior pick Hillicon Valley: Global cybersecurity leaders say they feel unprepared for attack | Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan | Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech 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.