Senate GOP musters final push to erase Obama health care law

Posted September 19, 2017

"A comprehensive CBO analysis is essential before Republicans force a hasty, risky vote on what is an extreme and destructive repeal bill", a letter from those Democratic leaders said. "#GrahamCassidy is not repeal or replace, it is more Obamacare Lite". Rand Paul voted yes, immediately following the defeat of his "clean" repeal 45/55, buying into the keep-the-ball-rolling rationale.

McCain, who was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer this summer, is struggling on a number of fronts: He wants to support his close friend, Graham, but he wants to be true to his pledge to reject any major legislative push that does not go through the standard legislative process featuring committee hearings and a full cost analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Sens. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Republicans who opposed previous repeal efforts, have not said where they stand. That's a steep task, since both women voted against "skinny repeal", which was a much narrower repeal bill that peeled away only small sections of the ACA. Under Graham-Cassidy, total federal Medicaid spending would be cut 26 percent in 2026 and 35 percent by 2036, relative to spending projections under current law.

The Graham-Cassidy bill seeks to give more power to states by converting dollars now spent on ObamaCare's subsidies and Medicaid expansion into a block grant to states. Sanders said, "The immediate concern is to beat back these disastrous Republican proposals that would throw millions and millions of people off of the health insurance they have, raise premiums for older workers very substantially, cut Medicaid by hundreds of billions". Insurers would still have to offer insurance to anyone who applied, but states could obtain federal waivers allowing insurers to charge higher premiums to sick people or to omit some of the benefits they are now required to provide, like maternity care, mental health care or treatment for drug addiction. This, too, has been a point of contention among some moderate Republicans.

Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act may still be alive: Sen.

"There is tremendous flexibility for states under Cassidy-Graham, but also tremendous responsibility".

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President Donald Trump has in the past threatened to end the cost-sharing reduction payments in the hopes it would cause Obamacare to fail and force Democrats and supporters of the law to come to the negotiating table.

Meanwhile, Graham told Breitbart on Saturday that almost 20 Republican governors had already pledged their support of his bill.

You wouldn't exactly pick up on all these obstacles from talking to Cassidy.

A victory would let Trump and Republican leaders claim redemption on their "repeal and replace" effort. Lamar Alexander, a Republican, and Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin - are backing the measure too.

For the Cassidy-Graham bill, named after Republican Senators Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsay Graham of SC, senators will have to vote before they even have numbers from the CBO.

"We already got what they considered to be the best repeal, so I don't know that getting a vote on that would change my mind", Paul said.