Murkowski can't support repeal of ACA without replacement

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Senate Republican leadership wanted to move forward with a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) was not on board with that plan.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R- AK)

Instead, she wants to see more of a committee process take place.

"I'm concerned that if we just move forward with a straight repeal, with a promise that we will get to it in two years 'trust us on this' - I think that just adds greater uncertainty."

According to Murkowski, Alaskans have seen their premiums increase over 200 percent. And some people say they feel like they don't even have insurance, because the premiums and deductibles are so high. Alaska only has one insurance option, leaving people on the marketplace unable to explore for cheaper coverage.

[DATA VIZ: Nearly a quarter of non-elderly Alaskans will be uninsured under the Senate health care bill]

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will vote early next week on trying to move ahead on a straight-up repeal of Barack Obama's health care law.

He says the vote was at the request of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Murkowski, along with Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, have turned on McConnell's repeal of Obamacare.

President Trump said he was "very disappointed" at the failure of the Republican Senate health care bill. He vowed that neither he, nor republicans, would "own Obamacare."

Murkowski did say President Trump is right, "healthcare is complicated."

But she goes on to say that it is not so complicated that they can't address the urgency, in the individual market, right now.

For his part, Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) said he was frustrated that the Senate couldn't reach a consensus on a bill. But he's vowing to keep working.

A partial statement from Sen. Sullivan, here:

“Under the latest draft of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, my team and I were able to carve out significant federal funding intended to decrease insurance premiums in high cost states like Alaska. We were also able to include significant funds to combat addiction and support mental health coverage. Finally, we were working relentlessly on a path forward for a sustainable and equitable Medicaid program.

"As a candidate, I made a promise to Alaskans that at first opportunity, I would vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. I kept that promise. In 2015, I, along with 51 of my Republican colleagues in the Senate, voted for repeal. Unfortunately, President Obama vetoed the bill.

"Given the opportunity, I intend to keep my promise to vote again for repeal and continue to vigorously work with my colleagues to come up with a replacement that works for Alaska.”

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