NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — President Donald Trump on Friday was urging Democrats to join the push to reform health care – even as another Republican senator came out against the bill to replace Obamacare.
Five GOP senators say the newly-released Senate health care plan is dead on arrival unless they see some major changes. There were initially four holdouts, but Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada joined them Friday.READ MORE: Robbery Suspect Accused Of Pushing Woman Using ATM In Queens, Withdrawing $1,000
“I’m announcing today that in this form, I will not support it,” Heller said Friday.
The five – Heller, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) are sticking together to get changes such as fewer government subsidies designed to make health insurance more affordable.
As it is, Senate Republicans do not have the votes to pass the bill, prompting a plea in the president’s weekly address.
“I only hope that Democrats in Congress will have the political courage to help fix what we know to be a catastrophic situation,” Trump said.
The problem facing GOP leaders is that any change that moves the bill further to the right has the potential to alienate moderate Republicans.
Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, and some others are worried about the bill rolling back Obamacare’s expansion of Medicare and putting limits on federal funding of the program.
“That could cause states to shrink eligibility, to cut people who really need health care from the program,” Collins said.
“I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes insurance away from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans,” he said.
“This is a terrible bill,” said Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat.
No Democrat is supporting the plan, which means Republicans can only afford to lose two Republican votes in the Senate or else the bill will fail.
“We said that what we need to do is fix the things that are wrong with the ACA, and that is the exchanges — costs went up too high in exchanges and a lot of reasons for that, including sabotage by Trump and also by Republicans,” Franken said.
During a Friday rally at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the bill a matter of life and death.
“The plan is bad for America. It’s even worse for New York,”Schumer said, adding it will cut $7 billion from New York health care systems, home care, medicaid and addiction programs.READ MORE: NYPD Searching For Suspect Accused Of Pistol-Whipping Man In Coney Island
Schumer predicted 2.7 million New Yorkers will lose their health coverage if the Senate bill passes.
“It’s a disaster for New York, and we are not going to let it pass,” Schumer said.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) held a separate event blasting the measure Friday, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported. He said the legislation was written “after weeks of backroom dealing” by “13 Republican men.”
“Not even a Republican woman senator was in the room to talk about the consequences to women’s health care,” he said.
People like Thomas Heeney, of Bloomfield, New Jersey, whose wife suffers from severe asthma attacks that can require hospitalization, said repealing Obamacare could be devastating for his family.
“If they take away the Affordable Care Act now and the Medicaid that my family’s on, we will lose our house,” he said. “We’ll be bankrupt.”
The clock is ticking. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) wants a vote before the July 4 recess.
On Friday, the president signed a measure to reform the Veterans Administration, giving leaders more power to fire bad employees and protect workers who report wrongdoing at the agency.
In two weeks, Trump will attend a summit of the world’s major economies, and could meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
CBS News reported Friday that intelligence agencies believe Putin personally approved efforts to interfere with the 2016 election, so as to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Trump.
A former Obama aide told the Washington Post “we sort of choked” with whether to disclose the meddling and how to punish Russia.
“They were really consumed with worry that if they acted, if the Obama administration acted, they would be accused of using intelligence; of using national security as an issue to help Hillary Clinton, and they tried to avoid that,” said Greg Miller of the Washington Post.
Trump responded Friday using his favorite social media platform.
On Friday night, even some Democrats were complaining that Obama’s handling of the issue was inadequate.