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Florida Senator On Health Care: ‘The Votes Are Not There’

Lindsey Kilbride

A health care replacement plan is expected to be up for a vote in the U.S. Senate after the July 4 holiday.

In Jacksonville Friday, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) had some strong words for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans after the plan failed to go up for a vote last week.

“I believe that Mitch McConnell is trying to break some more arms by delaying the vote,” Nelson said. “The votes are not there.”

As NPR reports, some moderate Republicans may be holding out over the bill’s Medicaid cuts at a time when the program covers 30 percent of opioid treatment, while conservative Republicans want more of the Affordable Care Act repealed and replaced.

Nelson said there’s no doubt changes could be made to the current system.

“What we have is a health care law that has extended healthcare to 24 million more people in the United States,” Nelson said. “Now there are things that need to be done to the existing law. We need to fix parts of it.”

He said creating a fund to insure insurance companies when they face losses could help keep rates down.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates Medicaid cuts and other changes in the Senate bill would leave 22 million people without health insurance at the end of a decade.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.