All eyes have been on Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of the few moderate Republicans in the U.S. Senate and a key swing vote on the Senate healthcare bill.
On Sunday, Collins made clear that she had concerns about the bill but would wait for the CBO score to decide whether she would support it or not.
The CBO score came out Monday afternoon predicting the Senate healthcare bill would cause 22 million to lose insurance by 2026, virtually unchanged from their analysis of the House bill.
Within just hours of the release of the score, Collins announced her decision: she will vote No on the motion to proceed to the healthcare bill.
I want to work w/ my GOP & Dem colleagues to fix the flaws in ACA. CBO analysis shows Senate bill won't do it. I will vote no on mtp. 1/3— Sen. Susan Collins (@Sen. Susan Collins) 1498517406.0
CBO says 22 million people lose insurance; Medicaid cuts hurt most vulnerable Americans; access to healthcare in rural areas threatened. 2/3— Sen. Susan Collins (@Sen. Susan Collins) 1498517491.0
Senate bill doesn't fix ACA problems for rural Maine. Our hospitals are already struggling. 1 in 5 Mainers are on Medicaid. 3/3— Sen. Susan Collins (@Sen. Susan Collins) 1498517509.0
Collins's opposition is significant because Republicans can only afford to lose two votes. Through the Senate budget reconciliation process, 51 votes are required for passage (or 50 votes plus a tie breaking vote by VP Mike Pence), which means McConnell can only spare one more No vote from his caucus. That is problematic since, as of Monday night, three other Senators had confirmed that they too would vote no on the motion to proceed unless the bill changes significantly.
GOP Sen. Dean Heller is a "no" on current health bill: "In this form, I will not support it."— Kyle Griffin (@Kyle Griffin) 1498244034.0
Rand Paul says he won't vote for the motion to proceed. "It's worse to pass a bad bill than no bill."— Matt Fuller (@Matt Fuller) 1498513793.0
New: @RonJohnsonWI just told me if senate gop leadership insists on moving to h care this week he will vote against motion to proceed.— Dana Bash (@Dana Bash) 1498525310.0
Add to these definitive No votes two skeptical conservative Senators, Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, and one wonders what Mitch McConnell can possibly pull out of his hat to get his caucus to Yes.
McConnell had hoped to begin procedural votes on the healthcare bill by Wednesday with an eye toward a final vote before the Senate leaves town at the end of this week for their July 4th holiday recess.