McConnell: Obamacare repeal must move quickly

Lawrence Kim
September 20, 2017

Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has resurrected the battle over health care in Washington, D.C., just weeks before the November 1 enrollment period for Affordable Care Act markets is scheduled to open.

Ed Tibbetts has the full story on how Iowa lawmakers might vote.

But several key Republican senators, including Sen.

Republican supporters of the bill have urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to ask the Congressional Budget Office to fast-track a cost analysis to allow a vote before September 30 under budget rules that require a simple majority to pass the legislation.

"Have the courage and decency to wait for a CBO score", Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor on Monday.

Going beyond some other repeal-and-replace efforts, the bill gives states control over using federal funds now used for marketplace subsidies and Medicaid expansion by distributing money through block grants based on a formula. The bill will give states a lot of freedom to decide how the money will be used to take care of the health needs of patients. "#GrahamCassidy is not repeal or replace, it is more Obamacare Lite".

DAVIS: This is a proposal being led by Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of SC and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. Graham said they could have as many as 48 votes if the vote were held now.

Other Republicans who've not yet lined up behind the bill include Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, John McCain of Arizona and Ohio's Rob Portman. When members of the Senate Health Committee then began working on a bipartisan plan to shore up Obamacare, Graham and Cassidy revved up a new bid to get their GOP-only bill to the Senate floor.

Asked about the likelihood that the bill would get enough GOP support to pass, Paul said, "Two weeks ago I would have said zero".

Paul made similar comments against the bill on Monday, telling reporters that it was a "bad bill". They've repeatedly failed to muster the 50 votes they need in the Senate because the plans they keep cobbling together are not good faith efforts, but are instead an attempt to check a box that so many in the once-Grand Old Party have been pledging to check.

House Speaker Paul Ryan urged the Senate to pass the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, calling the proposal "our best, last chance to get repeal and replace done". Rand Paul of Kentucky is still a very hard no vote, which means they only have - they can only lose one more Republican in the Senate.

McCain was one of three GOP senators who helped sink the ObamaCare repeal effort in late July. "It would impose less damaging cuts, or even raise funding initially, for states that have rejected the Medicaid expansion or enrolled few low-income residents in marketplace coverage".

"What I'm trying to figure out is the impact to my state", Murkowski told reporters. And if Americans lose their health care, they lose their health.

Graham-Cassidy was formally introduced last week. "It's time for them to get the job done". Dean Heller of Nevada and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin - are backing the measure too. That includes states like NY and California, which stand to lose federal funds under Graham-Cassidy. He has yet to support the current bill, and may not since Arizona would likely see a decrease in Medicaid funding after expanding it.

With the possibility of millions of people losing coverage and weaker coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, expect volatility in this corner of the healthcare market in the near-term.

When Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., sunk the most-recent GOP effort back in July, part of his problem was with the way the measure had been assembled behind closed doors.

The United Way could not continue to stay the course, 2017 campaign chairman Bryan Dixon said at a news conference at United Way headquarters in Bettendorf. President Donald Trump let the Republican senators know he's rooting for them, though he didn't explicitly supporting the legislation.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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