McConnell: 'Big challenge' to pass ObamaCare repeal in Senate
© Greg Nash
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRocky rollout for Senate healthcare bill Overnight Healthcare: Latest on Senate healthcare bill | Four conservatives say they'll oppose | Obama slams bill | Health groups offer scathing criticism Sanders: I hope McConnell listened to protesters outside his office MORE (R-Ky.) warned Thursday that Republicans will face an uphill battle in their effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare in the upper chamber. 
 
"If the House is able to pass it, we'll have a big challenge trying to pass it in the Senate as well," he told Newsmax TV. 
 
His comments come as some House lawmakers, as well as President Trump's budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, have voiced optimism on reaching a deal to move a new bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare after they return from the two-week April recess. 
 
McConnell said Thursday that while the status quo of ObamaCare isn't sufficient, "how exactly it's going to change is not clear yet." 
 
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GOP infighting killed an initial repeal-and-replace bill in the House. That legislation also appeared dead on arrival in the Senate, where several GOP senators were publicly opposed to the measure. 
 
"In four straight elections we told the people that we wanted to repeal and replace ObamaCare," McConnell said on Thursday. "Obviously, that's a lot harder to do than to say." 
 
Republicans have been divided on how much of ObamaCare to roll back. Conservatives want to allow states to get a waiver for ObamaCare's "essential health benefits," coverage that insurers are required to provide, as well as for several other provisions. 
 
GOP Sens. Ted CruzTed CruzRocky rollout for Senate healthcare bill Overnight Healthcare: Latest on Senate healthcare bill | Four conservatives say they'll oppose | Obama slams bill | Health groups offer scathing criticism Cruz floats amendment to Senate healthcare bill MORE (Texas), Mike LeeMike LeeRocky rollout for Senate healthcare bill Overnight Healthcare: Latest on Senate healthcare bill | Four conservatives say they'll oppose | Obama slams bill | Health groups offer scathing criticism Four Senate conservatives say they oppose ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (Utah) and Rand PaulRand PaulRocky rollout for Senate healthcare bill Overnight Healthcare: Latest on Senate healthcare bill | Four conservatives say they'll oppose | Obama slams bill | Health groups offer scathing criticism Four Senate conservatives say they oppose ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (Ky.) also led the push in the Senate for "full repeal," mirroring a 2015 bill that would draw pushback from some of their GOP colleagues. 
 
Meanwhile, a coalition of moderate senators repeatedly raised concerns about what would happen to their states' Medicaid expansion under the House bill. 
 
"The Medicaid expansion is also tricky because some states expanded and some didn't," McConnell said on Thursday. "It's a very challenging subject and so far regretfully we've not been able to figure our way forward."