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By Jack Crowe
The Senate will delay its vote on the health care bill, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday night.
— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) July 16, 2017
McConnell attributed the delay to Arizona Sen. John McCain’s expected absence, McCain underwent surgery to remove a blood clot at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona Friday.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) July 16, 2017
GOP leadership hoped to vote on the bill this week, but Republicans need McCain to gain a majority as two GOP lawmakers have already come out against the revised draft. Moderate Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and conservative Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky both oppose the bill and have said they would not vote to even begin debate on the legislation. Six other Senators remain undecided.
The bill has faced criticism from Republican and Democrat governors alike. The state executives, some of whom accepted expanded Obamacare Medicaid subsidies, have argued against the inclusion of deep cuts to the program.
The governors were joined in their opposition by two of the nation’s most powerful health care groups, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans sent a letter to GOP leadership Friday night criticizing the inclusion of a conservative amendment to the bill.
The provision, introduced by GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, allows providers to offer cheaper plans that don’t meet all Obamacare requirements as long as they also offer at least one Obamacare compliant option. (RELATED: Health Care Groups Blast GOP Bill In Letter To McConnell)
McCain, 80, will spend the week at home in Arizona recovering from the procedure. The Senate is expected to consider the Federal Drug Administration user fees extension and lower level nominees during McCain’s absence.