New Senate Bill to Replace ACA Gives More Power to States

19 September, 2017, 00:38 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • One last last chance GOP strains for Obamacare repeal votes

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and William Cassidy (R-LA), together with Sens.

The good news is that for technical reasons of parliamentary procedure, Graham-Cassidy has to pass by the end of this month, or not at all.

The Senate in late-July defeated an Obamacare repeal measure and since that time bipartisan efforts have commenced aimed at stabilizing state insurance exchanges. Republicans technically have until September 30 before they lose the ability to pass a bill with just 50 votes plus Vice President Mike Pence. That would entail support from Democrats, which they won't get.

But the party has failed to repeal Obamacare or enact a replacement system, despite controlling the Senate, the House and the White House since the November 2016 elections. But Paul said Friday he'd defect from Graham-Cassidy because it leaves way too much of Obamacare in place.

Not all the Senate's conservatives back the bill.

Co-sponsoring the proposal with Graham and Cassidy are Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., and Dean Heller, R-Nev.

"This is not a drill", Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY wrote on Twitter Monday. And it goes further by slashing funding to states for marketplace tax credits and cost-sharing reductions on the way to zeroing them out completely after 2026. That includes states like NY and California, which stand to lose federal funds under Graham-Cassidy.


Bill sponsors aren't counting on red-state Democrats to replace Republicans dissenters, though feel some might hop on board if the 52-seat GOP majority fronts at least 50 votes.

The budget agency's evaluations of past GOP repeal plans concluded they would have caused millions of Americans to lose insurance coverage, an outcome many Republicans are unwilling to accept.

MoveOn.org's Wikler concluded that "massive, unignorable pressure" will be necessary to defeat the Republicans' "brutal and deadly" act of desperation. And states could "devise their own coverage programs".

The simple fact is that all the major elements of the ACA - prohibiting discrimination by insurers based on medical history, requiring that people buy insurance even if they're now healthy, premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion that make insurance affordable even for those with lower incomes - are there because they're necessary. It would end most major provisions of Obamacare and replace them with block grants states can use to help cover lower-income residents now insured under the ACA. "Nevertheless, FreedomWorks is treating it as what is likely to be the last serious attempt to reform Obamacare". Senator John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican leader, said last week that he'll gauge support for the bill, and the topic is expected to be discussed again privately by Senate Republicans on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump has been telephoning members of Congress in recent days urging action on dismantling Obamacare.

"There is tremendous flexibility for states under Cassidy-Graham, but also tremendous responsibility".

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