The Senate Just Revealed Its Latest Bill To Repeal And Replace Obamacare

Several Republican senators exited the meeting Thursday saying that the new health care bill was a major improvement on the previous version.

"it's certainly better than Obamacare and it's better than it was. … It was definitely better, it was received well," said Sen. Graham, who released an alternative health care plan with Sen. Cassidy earlier Thursday.

"Personally, I thought it was a very upbeat meeting. Personally, I think the bill has been improved in a positive way," Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker said, adding that many members had not seen the bill before it was released Thursday and had a lot of questions.

It’s still unclear how many of the senators who have been on the fence or outright opposed to previous versions of the bill feel about the updated version. Several senators avoided reporters on Thursday, exiting the meeting through back hallways.

"Whether we've got 50 votes or not, I don't know,” Graham said, acknowledging that many of his colleagues — particularly moderate members and those up for reelection in 2018 — are still in a tough position on the bill. “I know this: that if you're a United States senator and your governor is saying this bill hurts your state, and you're a Republican and they're a Republican, you're pretty much in trouble," he said.

Graham said that getting more Republican governors on board could give senators more room to support the bill as well, pointing specifically to Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval who opposed previous iterations of the health care bill. Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection next year.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who is also up for reelection in 2018, wouldn’t say Thursday if he’ll support the new health care bill, saying he is “reviewing” it. But Flake added that “it’s improved certainly with the consumer freedom option” — the Cruz amendment that would allow insurers to offer plans with lesser coverage for cheap, as long as they also offer full-coverage plans.

Still, many Republican senators who supported the previous bill said that they’re hopeful that the changes will be enough to get them to 50 votes. Senators are expected to take a preliminary vote on the bill next week.

“I look forward to the debate next week, which I hope will happen," Corker said.

McConnell took to the Senate floor after the meeting, encouraging his colleagues to fulfill their campaign promises of the last seven years and repeal Obamacare.

"Failure to act means more families get hurt by Obamacare as it continues to collapse," he said. "It also means the law’s problems will grow more formidable, making them even harder to solve. That’s not something any of us should be comfortable with. So it’s time to rise to the occasion. The American people deserve better than the pain of Obamacare. They deserve better care. And the time to deliver that to them is next week."

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