Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson is one of four Republicans not yet on board with the U.S. Senate version of a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. Johnson was cautious Thursday morning, during an appearance on MSNBC. “What I’m going to need is enough time, to find out exactly what’s in this bill, and determine . . . whether this is continuous improvement from where we are today.”
Johnson said he did not agree with GOP leadership’s decision to develop the bill in secret. “Whatever we pass is not going to solve the entire problem. It might be better, hopefully it will be better. It’s the only way I’m going to vote yes.”
The draft text of the Senate GOP health-care bill – dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act – was introduced by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday, and Johnson was one of four Republicans who released a statement that they could not support it in its current form. He was joined by Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah
“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” the statement said. “There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs.”
Four Republican opponents could jeopardize McConnell’s efforts to pass the measure, which is being moved under rules that allow passage with a simple majority or 50 votes. Because there are 52 Republican Senators, losing the votes of just two would mean that Vice President Pence would need to cast a vote to break a tie.
Wisconsin’s other U.S. Senator, Democrat Tammy Baldwin, also released a statement. “For Wisconsin families struggling to get ahead, this repeal plan has no heart and people are scared that it will make things worse,” Baldwin said. “It will make families pay more for less care and increase the number of people who are uninsured. The guaranteed protections and care that you have today are weakened and now, politicians in Madison will decide whether you keep the care you have, or whether it is taken away.”