Health Care

Collins Leaning Against Graham-Cassidy Plan

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told ABC News that she is “leaning no” on the latest Senate Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has already come out publicly against the bill.

Jonathan Swan says it’s likely coming down to the votes of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): “Graham, who was on the flight with Pence, told me McCain will speak for himself — but added with a knowing smile that he feels good about McCain’s vote.”

Ryan, White House Reject Bipartisan Health Fix

Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House “have informed Senate Republican leaders that they oppose a bipartisan plan to stabilize Obamacare being written in the Senate… in a clear bid to boost the Senate’s prospects of repealing the health law,” Politico reports.

“After Senate Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare in July, talks began on fixing the law rather than dismantling it. The dose of cold water from senior GOP officials will put pressure on Republican senators to back a last-ditch bill to gut Obamacare before a Sept. 30 deadline. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell backed that approach publicly on Tuesday.”

McCain Faces a New Test of His Principles

David Leonhardt: “When his colleagues ignored him, McCain cast the vote that defeated their health bill two days later, with a dramatic 1:30 a.m. thumbs-down. The vote was remarkable because McCain is a conservative, reluctant to tax people for social programs, as the Affordable Care Act does. But he believed in a higher principle: the Senate’s credibility.”

“The latest Trumpcare, known as Graham-Cassidy, risks the Senate’s credibility again. There has been none of the regular process that McCain demanded, not even a Congressional Budget Office analysis. No major medical group — not doctors, nurses, hospitals or advocates for the treatment of cancer, diabetes or birth defects — supports the bill.

“Passing it would violate every standard that McCain laid down. Yet Republican leaders are rushing toward a vote.”

Quote of the Day

“We’ve had nine months. That’s my answer. We’ve had nine months to get it done and we haven’t. Is it my problem now that we only have a week? It’s not my problem.”

— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in an interview with CNN, still insisting the GOP health care bill go through regular order.

‘One Vote Away’ from Repealing Obamacare

Politico: “While the proposal written by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) remains short of 50 votes, it also has just one hard ‘no’ vote, from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and another expected ‘no’ in Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Three ‘no’ votes would kill the bill, but in an encouraging sign for repeal proponents, no one is stepping forward yet to deliver that final nail.”

“Instead, wavering senators remain on the sidelines. Conservative Sen. Mike Lee of Utah is warming to the legislation, which would turn federal health care funding into block grants for states and eliminate Obamacare’s coverage mandate, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is undecided… A Republican senator who has spoken to GOP leaders said Murkowski is likely the bellwether. This senator said that GOP leaders believe other undecided senators will support the bill if it is put on the floor and that McConnell has begun whipping the bill because he ‘realizes that there’s life out there.’”

Said the senator: “We are one vote away from doing this thing.”

Playbook: “The Senate’s ability to pass the bill using a simple majority expires on Sept. 30 — 11 days from now. Generally speaking, the same people have the same problems with this bill that they had with the last. This time, there’s a true deadline. Does that end date change the dynamics enough?”

McCain Blasts Latest Obamacare Repeal Effort

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “ripped his party’s process for trying to repeal and replace Obamacare but stopped short of saying he would oppose their latest bill,” The Hill reports.

Said McCain: “I have talked and talked and talked about the need to do regular order. I have amendments that I would like to have votes on … Am I going to be able to have those, or is it going to be an up or down vote? That’s not why I came to the Senate just to give up or down votes.”

Senate Nearing Another Vote to Repeal Obamacare

“Just when the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act appeared to be dead, a last-ditch push to dismantle the law could be nearing a showdown vote in the Senate, and a handful of Republicans insist they are closing in on the votes,” the New York Times reports.

“The effort received a jolt of energy on Monday when Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, a Republican, strongly endorsed the latest repeal bill. That put pressure on Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who cast the deciding vote in July that seemed to stop the repeal movement, but who has said he would seriously consider the views of his governor.”

Washington Post: “The latest Obamacare overhaul bill gaining steam on Capitol Hill slashes health-care spending more deeply and would likely cover fewer people than a July bill that failed precisely because of such concerns. What’s different now is the sense of urgency senators are bringing to their effort to roll back the Affordable Care Act, with only a dozen days remaining before the legislative vehicle they’re using expires.”

Meadows Says House Would Pass Obamacare Repeal Plan

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) predicted that the House “would pass a last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare if it clears the Senate, with conservatives getting on board,” Politico reports.

Said Meadows: “It’s fundamentally our last chance to make a legislative fix to Obamacare, and if it doesn’t happen, then the chances of it happening in the future are slim to none. And so, I fully expect that if it makes it out of the Senate, the pressure will be so great — from moderates to conservatives — to get it passed.”

Democrats Demand Full CBO Analysis of GOP Bill

“Democratic congressional leaders are demanding a full budget analysis of the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare, a move that threatens to stall the legislation ahead of a critical Sept. 30 deadline,” Politico reports.

“Democratic leaders say they fear Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), given the truncated timeline to consider the bill, is requesting only the bare-minimum analysis from budget scorekeepers required by reconciliation rules.”

New Repeal Effort Still Doesn’t Have the 50th Vote

“There’s a lot of skepticism in Washington over whether the latest Affordable Care Act repeal bill, proposed by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, can pass. One of the many reasons is that a lot of Republican senators’ states — particularly those that expanded Medicaid — would lose a lot of money,” according to Axios.

“Alaska is among the losers here, and it’s hard to see Sen. Lisa Murkowski getting on board with this bill or this process. Same goes for Sen. Susan Collins. Sen. Rand Paul has said he’s a no. Sen. John McCain was a “no” last time, largely on process grounds. The process hasn’t changed. And this bill would hurt his state.”

David Nather: “This has been building up for a while. Definitely worth keeping an eye on it, but still hard to see where they get the 50th vote. It’s not impossible that they get McCain. For everything he’s said about ‘regular order,’ he’s still friends with Lindsey Graham. But Rand Paul has been tweeting nasty stuff — it’s Obamacare Lite, etc. So unless you flip Collins or Murkowski, hard to see it happening.”

Senate GOP Tries Again to Repeal Obamacare

Politico: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his leadership team are seriously considering voting on a bill that would scale back the federal government’s role in the health care system and instead provide block grants to states. It would be a last-ditch attempt to repeal Obamacare before the GOP’s power to pass health care legislation through a party-line vote in the Senate expires on Sept. 30.”

“No final decision has been made, but the GOP leader has told his caucus that if the bill written by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) has the support of at least 50 of the 52 GOP senators, he will bring it to the floor.”

GOP Thinks Single-Payer Embrace Will Hurt Democrats

“Republicans are cheering on the Democrats’ embrace of single-payer health care, believing the move to the left will be an albatross for candidates in next year’s elections,” The Hill reports.

“After playing defense on health care for months as they failed to fill a promise to repeal Obamacare, Bernie Sanders’s increasingly popular ‘Medicare for all’ gives the GOP new momentum to blast Democrats. And they’ve got plenty of targets, with 16 Democratic senators backing Sanders’ effort and a similar House measure supported by half of the party’s caucus.”