GOP Senate Leader Won't Get Votes for Health Care Bill: Sen. Feinstein

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein speaks during a press conference at UCSF Mission Bay on Friday, July 7, 2017, in San Francisco. At right is UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood.  (Courtesy of UCSF)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Friday that she thinks the Democrats have the votes to permanently stop the Republican health care bill in the Senate, noting "we're very close to defeating it."

The Republicans can stand to lose only two votes from their own party, and nine Republicans signaled their opposition before leaving Washington for the July 4 recess.

Feinstein expressed her vote of confidence in front of doctors, nurses and other health care staff at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco.

“We're very close to defeating it. We're very close. Mitch McConnell, the leader, hasn’t brought it to the floor,” she said. “My sense is he won’t until he has the votes, and my sense is that he’s not going to have the votes.”

Feinstein said the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that 22 million Americans would lose their insurance under the bill ensures it will never pass.

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The bill would roll back Obamacare taxes that help pay for Medicaid, resulting in huge cuts to the program -- something Feinstein has called immoral.

“How very sad,” she said. “I know not one person that would ever want a tax cut based on the health of a child or the health of an adult.”

Supporters of the bill note that the CBO report found the tax cuts would allow a federal deficit reduction of more than $320 billion over the next decade.

Feinstein urged the hospital staff to call Republicans and ask them not to support the bill.

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital will be heavily affected by the proposed cuts: About 70 percent of their patients are covered by Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program at its Oakland campus, that number stands at 50 percent at the San Francisco location.

“Medicaid is the Medicare program for the working people in this country,” said Mark Laret, CEO of UCSF Health. “There is no better investment that our nation can make than in its people.”

Members of Congress head back to work on Monday.

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