Health Care

Obamacare Repeal Is Dead Again – For Now

The U.S. Senate will not vote on the latest Republican bill to repeal Obamacare, sources tell CNN.

“The decision is another blow to President Trump’s attempts to repeal Obamacare, a long-time Republican campaign promise and a centerpiece of his legislative agenda. Trump is now also floating the idea of working with Democrats on changes to the health care law, repeating his budget deal he reached earlier this month.”

Washington Post: “Top Republicans, however, also indicated they have little interest in shoring up the existing insurance market operating under the 2010 law. Instead, they suggested, the ongoing instability would backfire on Democrats and build momentum for the ACA’s eventual repeal.”

For members: Obamacare Isn’t Safe Yet

GOP Undecided on How Best to Fail on Obamacare

“Senate Republicans are on track to fall short in their last-ditch attempt to repeal Obamacare this week — now they’re just debating how best to fail on their seven-year campaign pledge,” Politico reports.

“The discussion will take place at the Senate GOP’s weekly party lunch later Tuesday, Republicans said. McConnell could go ahead and schedule a vote, in order to show the conservative grass roots and the broader party that the Senate GOP did all it could to dismantle the law. But there is also concern about the optics of going ahead with a failed vote.”

“Republicans are also privately worried that President Trump could continue to attack them if they give up on the effort publicly.”

GOP May Attempt Health and Tax Reform at Same Time

Politico: “The supposedly hard deadline at the end of the month to repeal Obamacare might not be so hard after all.”

“Here’s how it could be done: While the Senate parliamentarian has ruled that the repeal push under fiscal 2017 must die after Sept. 30, Republicans could provide reconciliation instructions for both health care and tax reform in the fiscal 2018 budget resolution that Congress must pass to again unlock the fast-track procedural powers. That might entail some procedural hurdles, but one GOP aide said Monday that because the Finance Committee has jurisdiction over about 95 percent of health care policy, ‘it’s not like we couldn’t slip it in anyway.'”

Said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “We’ve got to do both. They’re complicated by necessity. So I don’t think that takes away the complications. But I think we’re supposed to be able to handle complications.”

Collins Will Not Support GOP Health Care Bill

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said that she would oppose the latest plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, leaving Republican leaders clearly short of the votes they need for passage, the New York Times reports.

Said Collins: “Health care is a deeply personal, complex issue that affects every single one of us and one-sixth of the American economy. Sweeping reforms to our health care system and to Medicaid can’t be done well in a compressed time frame, especially when the actual bill is a moving target.”

She added: “Today, we find out that there is now a fourth version of the Graham-Cassidy proposal, which is as deeply flawed as the previous iterations. The fact that a new version of this bill was released the very week we are supposed to vote compounds the problem.”

Republicans Brace for Another Health Care Failure

“Republicans in the Senate and White House are increasingly resigned to defeat in their final bid to repeal Obamacare this week, despite a flurry of last-second revisions meant to win over skeptical senators,” Politico reports.

“GOP leaders have yet to pull the plug on the effort, but a massive change in dynamics must occur in the sharply divided Senate for the Graham-Cassidy measure to pass.”

Cruz Is Still Opposed to GOP Health Care Bill

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) “still is not a ‘yes’ vote on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, according to a Cruz aide, despite changes made in a new version of the legislation released publicly Monday morning,” Axios reports.

“Cruz is the third Republican senator to say he opposes the bill. It only takes three to kill it.”

GOP Health Care Bill Still Stalled

Playbook: “At this moment, senior Senate Republican aides seem skeptical this will turn the process around. In our conversations, one theme keeps coming up: much of the opposition to the bill is fundamental. Many senators don’t like how it was put together, and say it’s the product of a bad process. Take Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) interview with the Post‘s Bob Costa. He says he would support a bill — as long as it does not block grant funds to states. In other words, he would support a bill, as long as it’s not this bill. Momentum is everything on Capitol Hill. And right now, this bill does not have momentum.”

GOP Health Care Bill Altered to Lure Two Senators

Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) “will release a revised version of their health-care bill Monday aiming to send more health-care dollars to the states of key holdout Republicans,” the Washington Post reports.

“The Cassidy-Graham bill overhauls the Affordable Care Act by lumping together spending on subsidies and Medicaid expansion and redistributing it to states in the form of block grants. Alaska would get 3 percent more funding between 2020 and 2026 and Maine would get 43 percent more funding during that time period.”

“Republican senators from both states, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, have said they want to understand how Cassidy-Graham would affect their states before supporting the bill. Both have expressed deep opposition to cuts to health-care spending under previous versions.”

Graham Predicts He’ll Get the Votes

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the GOP would manage to round up the 50 votes necessary to pass Obamacare repeal through the Senate by the end of the next week, Politico reports.

But his path to 50 votes is unclear.

“Among the Senate’s 52 Republicans, Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona have already said they will vote against the proposal, which would repeal Obamacare and replace it with block grants to the states. Maine Sen. Susan Collins said Sunday she would have a difficult time voting for the bill, and Senate Republicans also expect Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski to vote against it.”

Collins Can’t See Voting for GOP Health Care Bill

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told CNN that it would be “very difficult for me to envision a scenario” where she would vote for Republicans’ latest plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, but the Maine Republican said she wanted to wait for a Congressional Budget Office score of the Graham-Cassidy bill before rendering a final decision.