Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanGOP senators: House agreeing to go to conference on ObamaCare repeal Key senator backs ‘skinny’ ObamaCare repeal The Memo: Justice Department veterans reeling over Sessions drama MORE (R-Ohio) on Thursday said he would back a “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill, another sign of growing momentum for a fall-back healthcare option in the Senate.
Portman said he was backing the bill as a way to start a conference with the House, which approved a broader ObamaCare repeal-and-replace legislation.
I will support legislation to move this process to a House-Senate conference because I believe we need to repeal and replace Obamacare.
— Rob Portman (@senrobportman) July 27, 2017
Portman is a key vote.
Republicans can only afford two defections on their legislation and get it through the chamber. Winning 50 votes would allow Vice President Pence to break a tie.
GOP leaders have not revealed their scaled-down measure, but it is expected that it would repeal the employer and individual mandates from ObamaCare.
In another key provision to win conservative support, it would also block federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides abortion services.
The skinny bill could also cut ObamaCare’s prevention and public health fund, while adding money for community health centers, sources said.
It would not cut Medicaid, which has been a concern for Portman and other centrist Republicans.
However, by allowing the Senate to enter a conference with the House, it could lead to a bill that does. The House measure would end federal funding for Medicaid’s expansion by 2020.
If the Senate does pass a bill, both chambers would have to approve what ever emerges from the House-Senate conference.
Alternatively, the House could also approve the Senate’s skinny bill in such a situation, though this would fall short of the hopes many conservatives have for a full repeal of ObamaCare.
It’s not clear when the Senate will get to a final vote.