Murkowski, Heller, GOP Promised No Repeal Without Replace

Ahead of the Senate’s vote today to advance the 2015 House-passed bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement, here is a look at the many Republicans, including Senators Murkowski and Heller, who have already said that they would not support repeal legislation, without a replacement, or any legislation that would not improve health coverage.


Senator Murkowski: “I remain committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act, and I am equally committed to ensuring that all Alaskans and Americans, especially the most vulnerable among us and those in rural communities, have access to affordable, quality healthcare. With a new administration and a new Congress we have an opportunity to fulfill both of those commitments, but repeal and replace need to coincide – that’s simply common sense.”


Senator Murkowski: “But almost as quickly as McConnell charted that new course, he lost the support to follow through with it. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have said they would oppose a procedural motion that would set up a vote on repeal-without-replacement legislation.  ‘If we’re going to do repeal, there has to be replacement,’ Murkowski told reporters. ‘There’s enough chaos and uncertainty already, and this would just contribute to it.’”


Senator Murkowski: “With a new administration & new Congress we have an opportunity to fix failures of #Obamacare, but a repeal and replace need to coincide.


Senator Heller: “’We cannot pull the rug out from under states like Nevada that expanded Medicaid, and we need assurances that people with pre-existing conditions will be protected,’ said Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, who is up for re-election next year.”


Senator Heller: “And while Mr. Heller has called for repealing the Affordable Care Act — a promise that thrills the Republican base — he has also, like many of his colleagues, consistently reassured voters that their health coverage would improve under a Republican alternative.”


Senator Heller: “Still, Heller took a far softer tack than the law’s staunchest opponents, frequently speaking of making ‘changes’ to Obamacare rather than eviscerating the law as some Republicans say they will do. He made no commitment to support the House-led effort to repeal the law, which could come before the Senate this month.  ‘Not everything in the Affordable Care Act is bad,’ Heller told the crowd in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas, as protesters demonstrated outside. ‘As we move forward and take a look at some of these changes and what’s occurring, I think we ought to embrace what’s good in the Affordable Care Act.’


Senator Portman: “‘If it is a bill that simply repeals, I believe that will add to more uncertainty’ and higher premiums, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told reporters this morning.”


Senator Collins: “Collins said that she is still a ‘no’ on proceeding to the House-passed bill, which would be used as a vehicle for any Senate action.  ‘We can’t just hope that we will pass a replacement within the next two years. Repealing without a replacement would create great uncertainty for individuals who rely on the [Affordable Care Act] and cause further turmoil in the insurance markets,’ she said.”


Senator Capito: “‘My position on this issue is driven by its impact on West Virginians. With that in mind, I cannot vote to repeal ObamaCare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”


Senator Johnson: “Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said he wants to see a ‘pretty darn specific’ proposal to replace Obamacare before it’s repealed. ‘Let’s start taking test votes on the different elements’ and ‘start making the political points’ for ‘what is going to be a more rational health-care system that actually works,’ Johnson said in an interview.’”


Senator McCain: “‘They have to be done together,’ said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, referring to efforts to repeal and replace the health law. ‘We don’t want to have people left out.’”


Senator Cassidy: “Cassidy, however, said it’s pretty clear what Trump wants and that he hopes the Senate will give it to him.  ‘I think we need to know where we’re going to end up in a practical way so that when we begin this process we’re heading in that direction,’ Cassidy said. He noted that Trump told CBS’ ‘60 Minutes’ after the election that ‘we should begin repeal when we replace.’”


Senator Paul: “Paul wrote an op-ed in Rare this week warning of such a scenario. He called for an immediate replacement or else Republicans ‘risk assuming the blame for the continued unraveling of Obamacare.’ Paul told The Hill that he will be ‘advocating very strongly in my caucus that we should vote simultaneously on repeal and replacement.’”


Senator Cotton: “Cotton said Thursday that ‘when we repeal ObamaCare, we need to have the solution in place moving forward,’ a warning against pushing a replacement far into the future.”


Senator Corker: “‘I think the president-elect’s position is the right position,’ Corker told reporters on Friday morning. ‘During the campaign he said that repeal and replace should take place simultaneously. That to me is the prudent course of action.’”


Senator Alexander: “You have to know what you’re going to replace it with, before you have an effective repeal,’ Alexander said at the end of his committee’s hearing on the individual insurance market.  ‘We’re more interested in the future and identifying what needs to be done to give people more affordable choices of insurance,’ he added. ‘No one’s talking about repealing anything until there is a concrete practical alternative to offer Americans in its place.’” 


President Trump: “I feel that repeal and replace have to be together, for very simply, I think that the Democrats should want to fix Obamacare. They cannot live with it, and they have to go together.”


President Trump: “It won’t be repeal and then two years later go in with another plan.


Vice President Pence: “‘What the President-elect has made clear is that he also wants Congress at the same time to pass a replacement bill that will lower the cost of health insurance and literally make health insurance affordable for every American,’ Pence said.”