Health Care

Why Murkowski’s Vote Probably Can’t Be Bought

A GOP operative explains to HuffPost why Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) probably can’t be convinced to vote for the Graham-Cassidy health care bill by letting Alaska keep Obamacare while it’s repealed for nearly every other state.

Said the operative: “So Lisa Murkowski votes for this bill, she gets to keep the benefits of the Affordable Care Act in Alaska. She votes against the bill, she keeps them as well. Why would she go for that? The only cost is political in terms of a high profile flip-flop that results in irritating all the constituents who aren’t already angry.”

Snyder Worried GOP Health Bill Is Bad for Michigan

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) told the Detroit News that he is “still reviewing a new U.S. Senate plan to overhaul the federal health care system but is concerned by outside analyses suggesting it could be bad for Michigan.”

Said Snyder: “There’s been a lot of third-party studies that say it will be anywhere from very bad to somewhat bad for Michigan.”

Republicans Still Working on Obamacare Repeal

Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) “and their allies on Capitol Hill and in the White House continued to work on tweaking their plan on Friday evening even after Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) dealt the bill an apparent death blow on Friday afternoon,” Politico reports.

“A new version of the legislation could drop as soon as this weekend.”

“McCain and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) oppose the bill to block grant the federal health care program to the states, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is leaning against voting for the bill. The changes may be aimed at Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), whose sparsely populated state suffers from unique health care costs and challenges.”

Trump Will Shut Obamacare Site During Open Enrollment

“The Trump administration plans to shut down the federal health insurance exchange for 12 hours during all but one Sunday in the upcoming Obamacare open enrollment season,” CNN reports.

“The Department of Health and Human Services will also shut down the federal exchange — healthcare.gov — overnight on the first day of open enrollment, Nov. 1. More than three dozen states use that exchange for their marketplaces.”

Democrats Not Declaring Victory on Obamacare Yet

Politico: “When John McCain cast the decisive vote against Obamacare repeal two months ago, Chuck Schumer waved an arm to quiet fellow Democrats as they burst into audible elation. Don’t gloat or cheer over the GOP’s failure, Schumer signaled — a move he made again on Friday in a statement, after McCain delivered what looks like a fatal blow to his party’s seven-year drive to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Far from celebrating, Democrats tempered their responses to McCain with reminders of the bipartisan health care talks that Republicans had walked away from when they took one last shot at repealing Obamacare.”

“And even as their liberal base turned a rally to pressure McCain into a thank-you celebration, Democrats stopped far short of declaring repeal dead… Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to questions about whether he will still hold the vote on the bill.”

Behind the GOP Efforts to Repeal Obamacare

“As more than 40 subdued Republican senators lunched on Chick-fil-A at a closed-door session last week, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) painted a dire picture for his colleagues. Campaign fund-raising was drying up, he said, because of the widespread disappointment among donors over the inability of the Republican Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act or do much of anything else,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Gardner is in charge of his party’s midterm re-election push, and he warned that donors of all stripes were refusing to contribute another penny until the struggling majority produced some concrete results.”

Said Gardner: “Donors are furious. We haven’t kept our promise.”

McCain Will Oppose GOP Health Care Bill

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will vote no on Cassidy-Graham bill, dealing potentially decisive blow to the health-care repeal effort, the Washington Post reports.

Said McCain in a statement: “I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will effect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.”

The New York Times says the decision leaves Republican leaders “with little hope of succeeding in their last-ditch attempt to dismantle the health law.”

Collins Is ‘Leaning Against’ GOP Health Care Bill

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told the Portland Press Herald she is likely to vote “no” on an Affordable Care Act repeal bill.

Said Collins: “I’m leaning against the bill.”

She added that her biggest problem is the “fine print” which would allow insurers to charge sky-high rates to people with pre-existing conditions: “The premiums would be so high they would be unaffordable.”

Attempt to Buy Murkowski’s Vote May Be Unconstitutional

Jonathan Chait: “Graham’s bill gives Alaska especially generous treatment. Haley Byrd reports that Republicans are offering an even more magnanimous bargain — a complete exemption from the deep cuts to Medicaid and tax credits that other states will suffer. Juliet Eilperin reports that the exemption from the cuts would apply to Alaska and Montana only — the two states would qualify on the basis of their low population density. Obamacare would be repealed in the other states, but suspiciously live on in a state whose vote Republican need really badly…”

“Georgetown law professor Brian Galle explains that the Constitution has a uniformity clause — Article I, section 8 of the Constitution says ‘all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.’ The purpose of the clause is to prevent coalitions of states from ganging up on others to impose discriminatory treatment.”

“The clause has not been tested before, but that is only because there are few cases in which the people running the government have passed a law so blatantly discriminatory.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“No one is more opposed to Obamacare than I am, and I’ve voted multiple times for repeal. The current bill isn’t repeal… Calling a bill that keeps most of Obamacare ‘repeal’ doesn’t make it true. That’s what the swamp does. I won’t be bribed or bullied.”

— Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), once again stating his opposition to the latest Republican health care bill.