GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski to Vote ‘No’ on Obamacare Repeal, Defunding Planned Parenthood

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, gestures before a public television debate on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, in Anchorage, Alaska. She faces three challengers in Tuesday’s general election. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
AP Photo/Mark Thiessen

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) says she will not vote with fellow Republicans for an Obamacare repeal bill that defunds Planned Parenthood.

“The Affordable Care Act has failed in so many ways, but there are elements within it that deserve to be saved,” Murkowski said, according to CBS affiliate KTVA.

As she addressed the Alaska state legislature Wednesday, the Republican senator said Obamacare has allowed for the expansion of Medicaid and the opportunity for more than 27,000 Alaskan citizens to obtain health insurance coverage.

Additionally, Murkowski said the provisions for pre-existing conditions, coverage for adult children up to the age of 26, and mental health coverage are all positive aspects of Obamacare.

“As long as Alaska wants to keep the expansion it should have the option,” Murkowski said. “I will not vote to repeal it.”

Murkowski also says she supports Planned Parenthood.

“Taxpayer dollars should never be used to pay for abortions, but I will not vote to deny Alaskans access to the health services that Planned Parenthood provides,” she said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said in January that the Obamacare repeal bill would also defund Planned Parenthood. With the use of the reconciliation budgetary procedure, Republicans would need 50 votes in the Senate to pass the legislation.

In 2015, Murkowski joined Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) to try to remove a provision to end Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding from the Obamacare repeal bill.

Alyson Currey, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, said Murkowski’s vote of support was “a really pleasant surprise.”

Planned Parenthood activists were on the steps of the Juneau Capitol to show support for Murkowski.

“Instead of voting to redirect tax dollars to community health centers – who actually provide the comprehensive care they say they do – Murkowski would prefer to keep funneling cash to an organization whose biggest moneymaker is abortion,” Family Research Council (FRC) said. “Although she claims she doesn’t support taxpayer-funded abortion, the reality is that the government’s support helps make Planned Parenthood’s real business possible. By filling the group’s pockets with more than a half-million dollars a year, Cecile Richards can free up other resources for abortion.”


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