The Latest: Trump blasts McCain over health bill vote

Susan Collins
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Republican effort to overhaul the Obama health law (all times local):

11:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump says Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain delivered “a tremendous slap in the face of the Republican Party” by voting to kill the party’s July effort to repeal the Obama health care law.

McCain returned to the Senate after being diagnosed with brain cancer and voted against the bill in a dramatic post-midnight roll call. He was the third Republican to vote “no,” just enough to kill it.

Trump says, “That’s the only reason we don’t have it, because of John McCain.”

Trump called the “Rick and Bubba Show,” an Alabama-based talk radio program. Trump has been campaigning to help Alabama GOP Sen. Luther Strange win a primary contest this week.

GOP leaders face an uphill fight this week to prevent a final defeat of their health effort.

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11 a.m.

A spokesman for Sen. Rand Paul says the Kentucky Republican remains opposed to the GOP bill repealing the Obama health care law. Paul’s opposition would almost certainly doom the measure.

Just three Republican opponents would kill the bill in the narrowly divided Senate.

Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain opposes the measure and Maine Republican Susan Collins seems almost sure to do so. Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski is undecided but voted against earlier versions this summer.

Spokesman Sergio Gor says Paul wants a “significant” reduction in the law’s $1 trillion in spending, elimination of its coverage requirements and establishment of broad health plans consumers could join.

Gor calls meeting those demands “the only way” Paul votes yes.

Republicans have revised their bill in hopes of winning votes needed to avert defeat.

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9:52 a.m.

Republicans have released a revised version of their legislation dismantling the Obama health care law. It contains added money and newly eased coverage requirements aimed at winning over GOP senators whose opposition could well sink the bill.

The proposal would allow states to let insurers boost premiums on people with serious pre-existing medical conditions and on older customers. They could also let insurers sell lower-cost policies covering fewer services than President Barack Obama’s health care law requires.

The initial version of the Republican bill required states to get federal approval to make those changes. The changes might help win over Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, who said he wanted added steps to reduce premiums.

Sponsors say the measure adds money for states with dissident senators including Maine, Alaska and Kentucky.

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4:18 a.m.

Top Republicans are adding money to their staggering effort to repeal the Obama health care law and say they’re pushing toward a climactic Senate faceoff this week. Yet their path to succeeding in their last-gasp effort has grown narrower, perhaps impossible.

GOP senators’ opposition to their party’s drive to scrap President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act swelled to lethal numbers Sunday. Moderate Sen. Susan Collins all but closed the door on supporting the teetering bill and conservative Sen. Ted Cruz said that “right now” he doesn’t back it.

President Donald Trump has pressed for a fresh vote, and White House legislative liaison Marc Short and Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the measure’s sponsors, said Republicans would move toward a vote this week.

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