Republican senator: Obamacare replacement plan 'can't pass,' GOP should 'pause, start over'


Sen. Tom Cotton, the influential GOP senator from Arkansas, took to Twitter on Thursday morning to express his displeasure with the House GOP's replacement plan for Obamacare — called the American Health Care Act (AHCA) — and the speed at which it is advancing through Congress.

"House health-care bill can't pass Senate [without] major changes," tweeted Cotton. "To my friends in House: pause, start over. Get it right, don't get it fast."

Cotton's avowed problems with the legislation come as a number of senators have expressed misgivings about the AHCA. Some, including Sen. Rand Paul, have criticized the law as not going far enough in its repeal. Others have worries about the future of Medicaid funding. The opposition has health policy experts wondering if the law can make it through the upper chamber.

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Cotton's state of Arkansas is one of 34 states and the District of Columbia that went ahead with the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion. That allowed more than 11 million people nationwide to access Medicaid insurance and has become incredibly popular in the states where it has been expanded.

The AHCA would end the current funding for Medicaid expansion in 2020 and shift to a per-capita block grant system that many experts say would result in less Medicaid funding for states. Additionally, the law would not allow anyone to be added to the expansion rolls after 2019, slowly decreasing the total number of Americans covered by Medicaid.

Cotton also said he was opposed to the fast track on which the bill is moving through the House. The AHCA was introduced Monday evening by the GOP leadership and is currently being reviewed by committees before it goes to the House floor for a vote.

RELATED: GOP proposed changes to Obamacare

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"GOP shouldn't act like Dems did in O'care," Cotton wrote. "No excuse to release bill Mon[day] night, start voting Wed[nesday]. With no budget estimate!"

Cotton was referring to the fact that the Congressional Budget Office has not released a score for the AHCA. The score gives a sense of the budget impact of the bill and how many Americans' health coverage would be affected.

Cotton is a long-time supporter of President Donald Trump, who has publicly supported the law and attempted to win over conservatives to get the law through Congress.

Despite this, Cotton said it would be better to slow down and get the bill right instead of simply getting a bill quickly.

"What matters in long run is better, more affordable health care for Americans, NOT House leaders' arbitrary legislative calendar," Cotton said.

Check out the tweets:

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