As senators defect, GOP concedes health bill’s fate bleak

U.S. Capitol Police maintain order as hundreds of people, many with disabilities, arrive for a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the last-ditch GOP push to overhaul the nation's health care system, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ decision to oppose the GOP push to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul leaves the effort all but dead. Even party leaders concede that their prospects are dismal.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the No. 3 GOP Senate leader, says reviving the push would be a heavy lift.

Thune made the comment after Collins joined a small but pivotal cluster of Republicans saying they’re against the measure.

GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas are also against the legislation, though Cruz aides say he might back it if changes are made. Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski is a Republican who’s undecided.

With their narrow Senate majority, defections by three GOP senators would doom the bill.