WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) — Sen. Richard Burr doesn't envision the Senate passing legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare this year and is skeptical about the chances of it getting done at all.
"It's unlikely that we will get a health care deal," the North Carolina Republican told WXII 12 News Thursday. He added that his focus would be on states, like Iowa, that were losing their insurance companies based on the current health care market.
"I don’t see a comprehensive health care plan this year," he added.
Republicans in the Senate have a slim 52-48 majority and can only lose two votes if they want legislation to pass. No Democrats are expected to vote to dismantle former president Barack Obama's signature health care bill.
A handful of Senate Republicans have been huddling weekly to try to hash out details of the plan. So far, these conversations have not produced any policy details but have acted as broad discussions of what members would like to see in the bill.
House Republicans passed their version of a bill in May, but many Republicans — including Burr — have dismissed it as a "dead on arrival" in the Senate. That bill allows states to apply to waive mandates that insurance companies cover certain types of care, like maternity care and substance abuse. It also allows insurance companies to charge people with pre-existing conditions more, although there is money set aside with the goal of mitigating the high costs.
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