Sen. Ted Cruz says he’s against the Republican bill

Alan Fram
Associated Press

Washington — Sen. Ted Cruz says he’s against the Republican bill that would erase much of President Barack Obama’s health law.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

If the Texas Republican sticks to that stand, GOP leaders will have little hope that their 11th-hour Senate push will survive.

Cruz spokesman Phil Novack says the lawmaker said in Austin, Texas, on Sunday that “right now, they don’t have my vote.”

The bill would lose if three GOP senators vote “no” in a showdown this week.

Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Kentucky’s Rand Paul say they oppose the bill. GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said Sunday it’s “very difficult” to think she’d vote “yes.”

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine

Cruz says he doesn’t think Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee supports the measure. A Lee aide did not immediately answer a request for comment.

A showdown vote would have to take place this week for Republicans to have any chance of prevailing. When September ends, Republicans will lose procedural protections that have prevented Democrats from killing the legislation by filibuster — meaning there is a window through month’s end for passage with 51 votes, which could include Vice President Mike Pence as a tie-breaker.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has yet to decide how she’ll vote. She voted against earlier versions of the bill this summer. Murkowski has said she wants to see how the measure would affect her state, which has extremely high medical costs because of the remoteness of many communities.

The measure would repeal much of Obama’s 2010 health care overhaul and shift money and decision-making power to the states.

Collins said she was troubled by the bill’s cuts in the Medicaid program for low-income people. She expressed concerns that the measure would result in many people losing health coverage and didn’t like a provision that would let states make it easier for insurers to raise premiums on people with pre-existing medical conditions.