McConnell skeptical about another run at health law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Senate Republican is skeptical at best about revisiting the Senate’s botched efforts to dismantle Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act despite one GOP lawmaker’s insistence the health care law will be scrapped.

In an interview Thursday with The Associated Press, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pointed out that the GOP-controlled Senate was “unable to go forward with 52 Republican senators. Whether it’s possible to go forward with 51 Republican senators is an open question.” Republicans have lost a seat with the election of Alabama Democrat Doug Jones.

The six-term Kentucky lawmaker’s comments came about the same time the government indicated the law remains viable. About 8.8 million people signed up for coverage next year as a deadline surge last week appeared to account for the surprisingly strong numbers. Just a day earlier, President Donald Trump proclaimed that the GOP tax bill “essentially repealed Obamacare.” But the tax overhaul only repealed the health law’s fines on people who don’t carry health insurance, starting in 2019.

Joining with Trump in pushing for repeal is Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who vowed to fight on no matter what.

“To those who believe — including Senate Republican leadership — that in 2018 there will not be another effort to repeal and replace Obamacare — you are sadly mistaken,” Graham said. “By eliminating the individual mandate in the tax bill we have pulled one of the pillars of Obamacare out. But by no means has Obamacare been repealed or replaced.”

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