Dean Heller of Nevada announced on Friday afternoon that he’s against the Senate health care bill as it’s currently written. “Heller’s comments came the day after four conservative senators issued a joint statement saying they cannot support the bill unless it is changed,” The Washington Post reported. “Those senators are Ted Cruz of Texas; Ron Johnson of Wisconsin; Rand Paul of Kentucky; and Mike Lee of Utah.” But those senators object to the bill because it doesn’t wholly repeal Obamacare. Heller’s criticisms of it, on the other hand, align with Democrats’.
“I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes away insurance from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans,” he said at a news conference in Las Vegas with Governor Brian Sandoval, another GOP opponent of the bill. Both men are concerned about the proposed Medicaid cuts. “There is nothing in this bill that will lower premiums,” said Heller, who faces a tough re-election fight next year.
It may be that Republicans have factored in Heller’s opposition—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can afford two defections from his caucus and still pass the bill—but Heller’s critique was surprisingly forceful. Though he held out hope for improvements, the senator said, “It’s going to be very difficult to get me to a ‘yes.’ They have a lot of work to do.”