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GOP Senators Throw another Health Care Hail Mary

15 September 2017, 12:39 | Katrina Lee

Greg Nash

Dems call for Obama Care hearings in the House

Republican Senators unveiled the $1.2 trillion Graham-Cassidy bill on Wednesday, calling it the GOP's last chance bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act through budget reconciliation. Bill Cassidy said Thursday that President Trump can help get his health care proposal passed through Congress. "Most of the discussion about flexibility has centered on amending the section 1332 state innovation waiver, because it is already in the Affordable Care Act, including commonsense suggestions to improve and speed up the process to make the 1332 waivers easier for states to use".

Graham warned that if Republicans fail to pass his bill, a single-payer system like the kind proposed by Sen.

"Here's what they're doing: they're comparing funding levels under their block grant in 2026 to funding levels under the ACA in 2020".

The bill, to be introduced Wednesday, is backed by Sens.

And Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin is supporting Senator Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All bill.

The GOP foursome pitches the plan after past efforts to repeal Obamacare have failed.

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One slender reed of optimism for the bill is the fact that Senator John McCain, the key vote against the "skinny repeal" bill in July, has made positive noises about his amigo Lindsey Graham's handiwork. They want to stabilize the Obamacare individual insurance market by protecting its "cost-sharing subsidies". The bill would also, for the first time in history, place a federal spending cap on Medicaid.

The window for passing this repeal is incredibly narrow: Graham, et.al., only have 17 days to fast-track the legislation with a 51-vote majority. Dean Heller (R-NV) came out swinging, vowing not to support any bill that would go after either traditional Medicaid or the Medicaid expansion that has extended coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income people in his state. "They have been coming after my health care all this year", Packard said.

One thing is known for sure, Sanders has brought forth, even with a lack of details, the most popular single-payer bill to hit the national political stage.

"We don't see a lot of Democrats and Republicans lining up to increase the enforcement or the size of the penalty on the individual mandate", Jennings, founder and president of Washington-based Jennings Policy Strategies Inc., said in an interview last week.

"What does matter is if a governor gets on board", he said. This would, according to the senators, allow states to "create their own health care systems" - but in reality, it would likely harm states that rely on cost-sharing and other tax credits to offset high insurance costs.

By making so many funding and coverage issues subject to future state decisions, the bill will make it hard for the CBO to estimate its impact.

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