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At least 4 Senate Republicans oppose health care bill

Four Senate Republicans announced Thursday that they currently oppose the health care bill to repeal and replace Obamacare that was released only hours earlier , putting its passage in jeopardy.

Those senators -- Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin -- issued a joint statement about their position.

"Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor," the statement said. "There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs."

Republicans need a simple majority to pass it, rather than a supermajority since they're using the budget reconciliation process. They may still have to rely on Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote. The Senate presently has 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats. That means  if all Democrats vote against the bill , only three no votes from Republicans would torpedo it.

Speaking to reporters, Paul said they have begun crunching the numbers in the GOP proposal and said "it looks to us like the Obamacare subsidies will remain in place and may well exceed what is in the current Obamacare."

"We looked at the spending for the next couple of years. We may think that the spending may actually exceed Obamacare spending in the next two years," he said. "We see a brand new entitlement program, which is called a stabilization fund, which is over $100 billion that is really taxpayer money being given to companies that make $15 billion a year profit."

Paul said there's "a lot" in the measure that doesn't resemble what he would consider an Obamacare repeal, arguing, "This is not ripping it out root and branch. This is feeding the roots of Obamacare, putting a band-aid on it, throwing some more tax money at it and calling it a day."

"Now that it is known that there are not 50 votes for this, I hope that those who are writing the bill, who have written the bill, will negotiate with us," he said.

Johnson said he needs people in Wisconsin to go through the bill, including his constituents. He said he needs more "information."

In a separate statement, Cruz said, "...This bill draft does not do nearly enough to lower premiums. That should be the central issue for Republicans – repealing Obamacare and making healthcare more affordable. Because of this, I cannot support it as currently drafted, and I do not believe it has the votes to pass the Senate."

Cruz and Lee were members of a 13-person working group that was tasked with crafting the legislation.

Several other Senate Republicans have also expressed concern about the bill. Senate leadership is aiming for a vote

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