Republican Sen. Richard Burr has cast doubt on the likelihood that Congress will be able to reach an agreement on a healthcare bill this year.
“I don’t see a comprehensive healthcare plan this year,” Burr told WXII News in Sanford, North Carolina, on Thursday.
GOP senators are working to craft their own version of a healthcare bill after identifying various issues with the House’s American Health Care Act.
When asked about about the House bill, Burr called it dead on arrival. “It’s also not a good plan,” the senator said.
While Burr is not part of the Republican working group for the healthcare bill, he is a longtime ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and chairs the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee.
Senate Republicans want to get a vote on a healthcare bill before the monthlong August recess, but the bill is not guaranteed to pass. Additionally, any bill that differs from the House’s AHCA would have to go through a compromise process to reconcile the changes.
Burr said that given the issues facing the healthcare bill, he had been looking to the problems facing the healthcare exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s unlikely that we will get a healthcare deal, which means that most of my time has been spent trying to figure out solutions to Iowa losing all of its insurers, to Tennessee losing theirs, to North Carolina only having one insurer in 95 out of 100 counties,” Burr said.
Many insurers have exited the individual insurance markets because of financial losses as well as policy uncertainty attributable to actions by Trump and Republicans in Congress.