The Graham-Cassidy health care bill may seem to be on life support, but on Sunday its authors appeared to make a last-minute effort to revive GOP hope to repeal and replace ObamaCare with a bill that gives more control to states through block grants.
The New York Times reported late Sunday that the revised bill would be providing additional funding for an unnamed “high-spending low-density state”—likely Alaska.
This is crucial because of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R- AK.), who is one of the Republican holdouts. She has maintained that she is evaluating the bill according to how it will affect her state. It was also reported that funds would be increased for Maine.
The Republican senator from Maine, Susan Collins, told CBS on Sunday that “It is hard for me to envision getting to ‘yes’ on this bill because my concerns are so fundamental.” She cited the cuts in the Medicaid program for low-income people and also the eventual results that would cause many to lose health coverage and pay higher premiums.
On Sunday, the president tweeted about the “win” for states like Alaska, Arizona, Maine, and Kentucky. It seems clear that Republicans are adding $14.5 billion to the measure for these states according to documents obtained on Sunday by the Associated Press.
The Republican health care bill would change the main components of ObamaCare and replace it with block grants (federal grants) that would go directly to states. The GOP bill would also end Obama’s mandate that Americans buy insurance and that companies offer coverage to workers.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) said that the GOP bill does not repeal ObamaCare. He tweeted, “Their sales pitch is, ‘If you like your ObamaCare, you can keep it.’” He followed it with this information: “Graham/Cassidy does NOT repeal ObamaCare and I oppose it. No one wants to repeal ObamaCare more than I do.”
Paul said in spite of the fact that the bill transforms federal health care dollars into block grants states would control; the GOP bill left too much of ObamaCare spending intact. “Block granting Obamacare doesn’t make it go away,” Paul said.
Democratic challenger, Chuck Schumer said the new bill would “throw our health insurance system into chaos.”
The Senate Finance Committee is set to hold a hearing Monday in an attempt to try and show Democrats are wrong in their criticism. The Congressional Budget Office is also expected to reveal an analysis of the bill’s impact on budget deficits.
In the midst of all this contention, Lindsey Graham has signaled that Republicans would press ahead with a vote this week. Next Sunday, the protection against a Democratic filibuster will expire.
President Trump is still distancing himself from the outcome on healthcare by continuing to focus on cutting taxes. ”I don’t know what they’re doing,” Trump told reporters. “But you know what? Eventually, we’ll win, whether it’s now or later.”
Two Republican senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona, have already said they oppose the legislation. Ted Cruz said that “right now” he doesn’t back the bill. If just three GOP senators vote “no,” the legislation is killed. Cruz stated that he does not believe the conservative Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, backs the GOP bill.
Is there hope for a GOP miracle, or will the bill flatline?
Credit: Fox News