Murkowski Could Play Key Role In Obamacare Repeal Starting This Week

“Republicans who have vowed for years to repeal and replace ObamaCare are now seeking to turn their campaign pledge into reality, with markups of legislation potentially beginning this week,” The Hill reports. 

Alaska’s senior Senator Lisa Murkowski stands to play a big role in that process due to the narrow majority the GOP enjoys in the Senate.

The Hill: “Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said Planned Parenthood will be defunded through the ObamaCare repeal bill, an idea long pushed by conservatives opposed to abortion.

But the idea faces opposition from centrist Senate Republicans, some of whom are from states where Planned Parenthood clinics have become key healthcare providers.

“I, for one, do not believe that Planned Parenthood has any place in our deliberations on the Affordable Care Act,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told her state’s legislature earlier this month.

Taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for abortions, but I will not vote to deny Alaskans access to the health services that Planned Parenthood provides.

Another moderate GOP senator, Susan Collins (R-Maine), has expressed reservations about voting for a repeal bill that also contains the Planned Parenthood language.

“If the House Republicans want to bring it up, it should be in a separate bill. I would oppose that bill, but it further complicates the negotiations to have it included in this bill,” she said.

A draft of the ObamaCare repeal that leaked last week shows that Republicans may use the same language they did in the 2015 bill, which would block Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers for a year.

Collins voted against that bill, while Murkowski supported it.

Because Republicans are repealing ObamaCare through reconciliation, they only need 50 of their 52 members in the Senate to vote for it.

Murkowski and Collins offered an amendment in 2015 to try to protect the organization’s funding, but it was shot down. Collins’s office would not say if she planned to offer a similar amendment this year.”

About the Author

Casey Reynolds
Reynolds served as communications director for the Alaska Republican Party from 2008-2011. He left the Party in 2011 to host his own popular morning radio political talk show on AM750 / FM103.7 KFQD. Reynolds now runs The Midnight Sun (midnightsunak.com), crowned by the Anchorage Press as “Alaska’s best political blog.”