SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8 / AP) - More than 100 people staged a "die in" and held a candlelight vigil Tuesday outside UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest to protest the Senate Republican health care bill.
Senate GOP leaders abruptly shelved their long-sought health care overhaul Tuesday, asserting they can still salvage it but raising new doubts about whether President Donald Trump and the Republicans will ever deliver on their promises to repeal and replace "obamacare."
The bill has many critics and few outspoken fans on Capitol Hill. It was short of support heading toward a critical procedural vote on Wednesday, and prospects for changing that are uncertain. McConnell promised to revisit the legislation after Congress' July 4 recess.
"It's a big complicated subject, we've got a lot discussions going on, and we're still optimistic we're going to get there," McConnell told reporters after the lunch.
It hasn't been easy, as adjustments to placate conservatives, who want the legislation to be more stringent, only push away moderates who think its current limits - on Medicaid for example - are too strong.
McConnell can lose only two senators from his 52-member caucus and still pass the bill, with Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote. Democrats are unanimously opposed, and in recent days they have stepped up protests, delivering speeches on the Senate floor for hours and holding vigils on the Capitol steps.
Medical groups are nearly unanimously opposed, too, along with the AARP, though the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports the bill.
GOP defections increased after the Congressional Budget Office said Monday the measure would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026 than Obama's 2010 statute.
The 22 million extra uninsured Americans are just 1 million fewer than the number the budget office estimated would become uninsured under the House version. Trump has called the House bill "mean" and prodded senators to produce a package with more "heart."
The budget office report said the Senate bill's coverage losses would especially affect people between ages 50 and 64, before they qualify for Medicare, and with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level, or around $30,300 for an individual.
The Senate plan would end the tax penalty the law imposes on people who don't buy insurance, in effect erasing Obama's so-called individual mandate, and on larger businesses that don't offer coverage to workers.
It would let states ease Obama's requirements that insurers cover certain specified services like substance abuse treatments. It also would eliminate $700 billion worth of taxes over a decade, largely on wealthier people and medical companies - money that Obama's law used to expand coverage.
It would cut Medicaid, which provides health insurance to over 70 million poor and disabled people, by $772 billion through 2026 by capping its overall spending and phasing out Obama's expansion of the program. Of the 22 million people losing health coverage, 15 million would be Medicaid recipients.