Republican Sen. Ted Cruz: ‘Right now they don’t have my vote’ on health care bill

(ABC News) — Sen. Ted Cruz said today that he does not yet support the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, which appears to put the Republicans‘ latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act in jeopardy.

“Right now they don’t have my vote,” the Texas Republican said during an interview at the Texas Tribune Festival at the University of Texas Austin on Sunday.

Cruz said he wants to be a “yes” vote on Republicans’ latest push to repeal Obamacare, the health care law he called a “disaster.”

“And I don’t think they have Mike Lee’s either,” Cruz said of the Republican senator from Utah.

A spokesperson for Sen. Mike Lee told ABC News, “We want some technical changes, we are working with Cassidy but we haven’t committed to anything yet.”

Another Republican leaning no on the Graham-Cassidy bill, Sen. Susan Collins said it is “very difficult” to envision herself voting for the legislation.

“It’s very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill,” Collins, R-Maine, said in an interview with CNN Sunday. “I have a number of serious reservations about it.”

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Collins said she wants to wait for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the bill before she makes a final decision. The CBO scoring of the bill is expected this week.

Collins said Friday that she was “leaning no” on the bill, concerned about its proposed changes to Medicaid and health care premium costs.

Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona have already publicly come out against the latest GOP health care bill.

The Graham-Cassidy bill, introduced earlier this month by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., would give states control over health care by providing them with block grants that expire in 2026. The bill would eliminate the individual and employer insurance mandates under the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — Medicaid expansion, and federal tax credits.

McCain said Friday he could not in “good conscience” vote for the Cassidy-Graham bill, and that he is concerned that the bill does not have bipartisan support, nor has it gone through regular order, which would include hearings and debates on the legislation.

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“[Republicans] should not be content to pass health care legislation on a party-line basis, as Democrats did when they rammed Obamacare through Congress in 2009,” McCain said in a statement explaining why he’s chosen not to support the bill. “If we do so, our success could be as short-lived as theirs when the political winds shift, as they regularly do.”

Paul’s main gripe with the bill is that he believes it doesn’t go far enough in repealing Obamacare.

The Senate will consider the bill on the floor this week, ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline that allows Republicans an easier path to passing the bill by a simple majority. Republicans can only afford to lose three votes, or else their efforts in the Senate to repeal Obamacare will fail for a second time this year.

The Senate Finance Committee will also hold a hearing Monday afternoon on the Graham-Cassidy proposal.

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