Senate Republicans are trying one last time to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the Graham-Cassidy Bill, according to The Chicago Tribune —and they reportedly wantsto expedite the process since the Senate only has until September 30 in order to be able to pass budgetary legislation with a simple majority vote.
The Graham-Cassidy Bill (sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, Ron Johnson and Dean Heller) would replace ACA’s tax subsidies with block grants, stop the individual insurance mandate and scale back its Medicaid expansion, Politico reports. In addition, the block grants would allow states to fund health insurance programs outside of ACA mandates, according to The Chicago Tribune.
The bill would essentially significantly limit the federal government’s role in the healthcare system. And it needs at least 50 votes to pass.
Sen. Cassidy to reporters at briefing this AM on his repeal plan: “We’re probably at 48 or 49, talking to a few more."
— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) September 15, 2017
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and GOP leadership are now trying to determine if they will have enough votes for the September 30 deadline, because if the deadline is not met, Senate Republicans will need 60 votes to pass it and that would make it significantly harder to pass, The Chicago Tribune reports.
GOP leadership will gauge whether they have the necessary votes in a series of private meetings this week with the help of the White House to ensure that the party won’t have a repeat of their last failed attempt in July to repeal and replace when John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted no on a slimmed-down repeal bill, according to Capitol Hill and White House sources.
“McConnell would like something to pass. But he also knows that getting 50 to vote for that is a challenge,” said a Republican aide, according to Politico. “They show him it has 50, he'll schedule a vote.”
Senate Republicans realize the tremendous pressure that they are under to perform, especially since President Trump has pushed to get Congress to repeal ACA. A White House official told Politico that Trump is expected to "keep pushing" for some sort of "repeal and replace."
However, Senate Republicans are cautious about this latest attempt. McCain, who voted no for the repeal in July, said he supports the bill in theory but cautioned Republicans against “[ramming] through our proposal” with a party-line vote, The Chicago Tribune reports.
“Why did Obamacare fail? Obamacare was rammed through with Democrats' votes only. ... That's not the way to do it. We've got to go back. If I could just say again, the way to do this is have a bill, put it through committee,” McCain said on CBS's “Face the Nation.”
As of this point, Senator Rand Paul has already announced that he is a “no” vote, Politico reports. “I can't support a bill that keeps 90% of Obamacare in place,” Paul tweeted. Cassidy replied to Paul, stating that the bill “repeals entire architecture of Obamacare & gives Kentucky control over its own health care.” According to Politico, despite not having made her final decision yet, Republicans believe Collins also won’t vote for the bill, which means that Graham-Cassidy cannot lose any more votes.
Democrats have since taken to social media to slam the bill and encourage ACA supporters to call their representatives.
Let me repeat: The Graham-Cassidy @SenateGOP"health care" bill IS Trumpcare, & it will rip health care away from millions of Americans.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 17, 2017
“The Graham-Cassidy @SenateGOP 'health care' bill IS Trumpcare, & it will rip health care away from millions of Americans,” Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote on Twitter.
FreedomWorks, a grassroots organization committed to fighting for lower taxes and less government, has partially endorsed the bill and consider it a final move against ACA.
“It’s not the repeal of Obamacare that was promised,” said Jason Pye, FreedomWorks' Legislative Affairs Vice President. “Nevertheless, FreedomWorks is treating it as what is likely to be the last serious attempt to reform Obamacare.”