MINNEAPOLIS - The day started in dramatic fashion as Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finally revealed the Senate's version of the Obamacare replacement.
"I'm pleased that we were able to arrive at a draft that incorporates input from so many different members who represent so many different constituents with so many challenges,” he said.
And it started out much like we would expect. Republicans for it, Democrats against.
"Both Amy Klobuchar and I are against this,” Senator Al Franken told KARE 11 saying he was concerned about the cuts to Medicaid. "This will be devastating to rural hospitals, nursing homes. This is very, very bad.”
Days earlier, Klobuchar told MSNBC she was concerned with the lack of transparency.
“We have not even had a hearing. With the Affordable Care Act, we had over 100 hearings, multiple amendments, Republican amendments, and here we have now a bill that’s being drafted behind closed doors,” she said.
But four conservative Republicans came out against the plan too, including Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson.
"This current draft doesn’t get the job done,” said Cruz who believes the bill is better than current law but doesn’t go far enough.
"As we look at the expense of the bill we think in the first year or two it may cost more than Obamacare,” he told capitol reporters.
Johnson declined an interview but in a statement with the four other senators said "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."
His Democrat counterpart from Wisconsin added she had concerns with fewer people being covered.
“The people of Wisconsin did not send me to Washington to take people’s health care away,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.
It’s not the opposition itself that has caught political analysts’ attention, but the fact that is coming from both moderate and some conservative Republicans.
"I think it is a big deal,” said Neil Kraus, UW-River Falls Political Science professor. “They can lose two. So if they lose three or more they’re not going to get it through the senate.”
Still Johnson and the other Republican senators want to pass something and are open to negotiating, saying the current system is failing. In short: it's still very early.
"To say there's no way it's going to pass, I’m not so sure,” he said.
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