Sen. Lee: ‘I cannot support’ Senate GOP’s health bill

In this file photo Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, delivers a speech on the Senate Floor, U.S. Senate, Washington, fall 2015 | Photo from video courtesy of the offices of Sen. Mike Lee, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Sen. Mike Lee, R- Utah, announced Monday that he will not be supporting the Senate GOP’s health care bill.

Officially titled the “Better Care Reconciliation Act,” Lee joined Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, in voicing opposition to the latest version of the health care bill.

“After conferring with trusted experts regarding the latest version of the Consumer Freedom Amendment, I have decided I cannot support the current version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act,” Lee said in a statement Monday.

Last week Lee said over Twitter that he was withholding judgment until he reviewed the bill in more detail. Particularly, he spoke to a part of the bill that was reportedly based on a provision he helped Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, create.

The provision would allow insurance companies to offer cheaper, bare-bones policies as long as they met strict coverage requirements that have been set under the ACA. Moderate Republicans have worried that this would cause premiums for people with pre-existing conditions to spike.

The current version of the Senate GOP health care bill also seeks to add $45 billion toward fighting opioid drug abuse and an additional $70 million toward stabilizing rising insurance premium costs.

The bill would also seek to phase out federal money being sent to states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the ACA, while also potentially limiting the program’s overall future growth.

Remaining in place would be taxes placed on those making over $250,000 or more.

“In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations,” Lee said in his statement.

With Senate Democrats dead set against the bill, and Sens. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, previously stating they would not vote for it, it’s put the bill’s future in question.

While the Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate, they need 50 votes to pass the legislation. With Lee and Moran now opposing the current version of the bill, it could die in the Senate.

“Let me say at the outset that this bill isn’t perfect,” Sen. Orrin Hatch – who supports the bill – said last week, adding he would have done some things “very differently” if he had the chance.

“… One thing I’ve learned in my 40 years in the Senate is that, people who demand purity and perfection when it comes to legislation usually end up disappointed and rarely accomplish anything productive,” Hatch said. “That’s particularly true when we’re talking about complex policy matters.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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6 Comments

  • Not_So_Much July 18, 2017 at 6:41 am

    I’m so glad you are my Senator! Keep fighting the good fight!

  • Utahn July 18, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Keep fighting Senator Lee. Remove the taxes, allow the free market to work.

    >>”Remaining in place would be taxes placed on those making over $250,000 or more.”

    Why do socialists always want to take from those that earn more?

  • Brian July 18, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Good! This bill is a steaming pile…

  • stg-anon July 18, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Well then. This is probably the first and only time Senator Lee has voted the way I wish he would, even though it is for the completely 100% opposite reason.

    • karensg July 18, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      Same here, although I’m not sure I understand exactly about the 100% opposite reason.
      This is the first time I’ve thought I could vote for Lee next time!
      I do not want a 2 year delay on any repeal bill, so there’s still that for me to not like.

  • ladybugavenger July 18, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    ladybugavenger qualifies for health insurance through her employer. I no longer have to worry about obamadontcare fines. As a seasonal employee, I did not qualify for benefits. Yesterday, I was hired on part time. Full time positions are far and few between and I didn’t get one. This Fortune 500 company have hired me an now My hours are cut from an avg of 36 hours a week with no benefits to a mximum of 25 hours a week and as low as 10 hours a week with benefits….wonder if I aqualify for government assistance now hmmmm ill look into that- thank you tax payers for your kind heart and donations.

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