Mitch McConnell: Senate GOP will have health care bill draft ready Thursday

Senate Republicans will release a "discussion draft" of their health care bill to repeal and replace Obamacare on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.

"I expect to have a discussion draft on Thursday, and we will go to the bill obviously once we get a CBO score -- likely next week," the Kentucky Republican told reporters after Republicans discussed the process behind closed doors over lunch.

CBO stands for the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan organization that scores legislation and estimates its budgetary and economic effects.

McConnell said he thinks "it'll be about as transparent as it can be" and claimed that the measure would be "a profound positive improvement over the status quo," which he called unsustainable.

Asked how long the public will have to review to the legislation before the Senate holds a vote, McConnell said, "Oh, they'll have plenty of time."

McConnell rejected the idea of Democrats being invited into negotiations and said "they are not interested in what we're trying to achieve, which is to change Obamacare and make it better."

Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, said at the press conference that Republicans' top two priorities in the measure will be to bring stability to the marketplace and to address the issue of skyrocketing premiums.

McConnell has said he wants the Senate to vote on the bill before they leave at the end of next week for their week-long July 4 recess. The House narrowly passed its version in early May.

Republicans are relying on the budget reconciliation process to get the bill passed in the Senate, which only requires a simple majority -- 51 votes -- instead of a supermajority and they may have to rely on Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote. The Senate currently has 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats. That means if all Democrats vote against the bill, it would take three Republicans to torpedo it.

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.