Republican Sen. Burr pours cold water on GOP health care bill’s chances in 2017

Julia Munslow
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. at a hearing on Capitol Hill last month. (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said Thursday that he thinks it’s unlikely that the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare will pass through the Senate this year.

“I don’t see a comprehensive health care plan this year,” Burr told WXII 12 News, adding that he’s spent the majority of his time brainstorming solutions to Iowa’s Obamacare marketplace, which is shedding insurers. “It’s a bad plan,” he said of the House bill in another part of the interview.

The House Republicans narrowly passed early last month a bill that would repeal and replace portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But that vote was just the beginning of a long road ahead for Republicans to deliver on their long-held campaign promise to overhaul the Obama-era policy.

Republicans hold a narrow 52-48 majority in the Senate, meaning that they can risk losing only two votes to pass the bill. Democratic senators appear unified against any bill to repeal the ACA, and the House plan has already been bombarded by criticism from both moderate and conservative Republican senators.

Like other Republican senators, Burr called the House bill “dead on arrival” in the Senate, which has vowed to write its own law on the matter.

The Iowa GOP delegation, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst, also lowered expectations for a successful health care plan Wednesday, saying that a complete repeal of the ACA is unlikely.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Reuters last month that he was uncertain about how Republicans will win the 50 votes needed to push the health care bill through the Senate.

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