Murkowski: ‘I just truly do not know’ if I can support GOP health bill – The Hill

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiOvernight Healthcare: GOP brushes off Trump calling health bill ‘mean’ | Big decision for insurers | Trump order on drug pricing in the works Murkowski: ‘I just truly do not know’ if I can support GOP health bill Trump having lunch with senators to talk healthcare MORE (R-Alaska), a potential key swing vote on an ObamaCare repeal-and-replace plan, isn’t sure she could support the emerging Senate Republican healthcare bill.

When asked Thursday if she had confidence she could eventually support a bill, Murkowski said she didn’t know. 

“I just truly do not know, because I don’t know where it’s going,” she said.

Murkowski wouldn’t commit when asked if she would support a seven-year phaseout of the Medicaid expansion, which some moderate GOP senators are pushing. Nor would she say whether she would support a slower phaseout or a faster one.  

“My position on Medicaid expansion and my support for it hasn’t changed,” Murkowski said.

The Alaska Republican has previously said she wouldn’t vote to repeal the Medicaid expansion if the Alaska state Legislature wants to keep it. And she was one of four senators who sent a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRussian sanctions bill faces uncertain path in House Murkowski: ‘I just truly do not know’ if I can support GOP health bill Prominent conservatives: Extend the budget window to pass tax cuts MORE (R-Ky.) in early March saying they couldn’t support a bill that didn’t have protections for people in the Medicaid expansion population.

A group of moderate Republican senators led by Rob PortmanRob PortmanMurkowski: ‘I just truly do not know’ if I can support GOP health bill Nevada’s GOP governor breaks with Heller on Medicaid expansion Trump calls House healthcare bill ‘mean’ MORE (Ohio) want to gradually phase out federal funding for Medicaid expansion over a seven-year period from 2020 to 2027. Senators such as Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Moore CapitoMurkowski: ‘I just truly do not know’ if I can support GOP health bill GOP considers keeping ObamaCare taxes Overnight Healthcare: Senate GOP considers opioid funding in ObamaCare repeal | AARP targets six GOP senators | Supreme Court rules may speed marketing of lower-cost ‘biosimilar’ drugs MORE (W.Va.) and Dean HellerDean HellerCourt-martial possible in Marines nude photo sharing scandal Murkowski: ‘I just truly do not know’ if I can support GOP health bill Senate votes to continue arming Saudis As Yemenis suffer the consequences MORE (Nev.) have also recently spoken in support of the seven-year plan.

Medicaid is one of the biggest stumbling blocks on the path to repealing ObamaCare, and if moderates can support an eventual end to the Medicaid expansion, a compromise could be reached.

Senate leaders can only afford to lose two votes when they bring the legislation the floor. It’s a delicate balancing act, but if enough moderates can be convinced to support the bill, McConnell may not need conservative Republicans such as Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Healthcare: GOP brushes off Trump calling health bill ‘mean’ | Big decision for insurers | Trump order on drug pricing in the works Russian sanctions bill faces uncertain path in House Overnight Finance: Senate passes Russian sanctions deal | White House divided on debt limit strategy | Budget office wages ‘war on waste’ | Trump expected to tighten Cuba rules MORE (Ky.) or Mike LeeMike LeeMurkowski: ‘I just truly do not know’ if I can support GOP health bill Rand Paul denounces ‘new entitlements’ in emerging health bill Senate overwhelmingly passes Russia sanctions deal MORE (Utah) to help pass the measure.

Closed-door discussions about the substance of the bill have been happening almost daily since the House voted last month, but the secretive nature of the process has left many senators unsure of what’s actually being included in the package.

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