Graham-Cassidy sponsors vow to press on with health-care reform

Graham-Cassidy sponsors vow to press on with health-care reform
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The main sponsors of the last ObamaCare repeal bill committed on Thursday to hold hearings in the coming months in an effort to eventually pass their legislation.

“Over the coming weeks and months, we are committed to holding congressional hearings and working with our nations’ governors who believe returning power to states is a vast improvement over Obamacare,” Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration We are running out of time to protect Dreamers US trade deficit rises on record imports from China MORE (R-S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyTax bill could fuel push for Medicare, Social Security cuts Collins to vote for GOP tax plan Overnight Tech: Lawmakers want answers on Uber breach | Justices divided in patent case | Tech makes plea for net neutrality on Cyber Monday MORE (R-La.) said in a joint statement.

Graham and Cassidy met with President Trump on Thursday to discuss the future of health care. The senators said they remain committed not only to ObamaCare repeal, but to the specific principles in their legislation.

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The senators contend they’re not giving up on their years-long pledge to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Still, action is not likely in the near term as a key deadline letting Republicans pass a bill with a simple majority expires Saturday.

“While President Trump — and both of us — are moving to focus on tax cuts, the debate about health care reform will continue,” Cassidy and Graham said.

After the meeting, Graham told reporters that he felt most of the resistance to their legislation — which became known as the Graham-Cassidy bill — was about process.

“I really think substantively we can sell this to 50 members of our conference with a better process,” Graham said.

One of the principal criticisms of the entire ObamaCare repeal process was that there weren’t any public hearings.

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Meghan McCain knocks Bannon: 'Who the hell are you' to criticize Romney? Dems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress MORE (R-Ariz.) in particular has continuously called for “regular order” and said he felt the process was too rushed.

Senators held closed-door meetings throughout the summer before bringing a bill to the floor in July that ultimately failed.

Cassidy and Graham also wrote their bill in secret. The only hearing was held on Monday, just days before the bill would have been voted on.

The legislation had gained momentum last week, but ultimately Republicans decided Tuesday against holding a vote when it became clear the legislation wouldn’t pass.

Trump predicted Wednesday that Republicans will pass health care “in January or February."

"But I feel we have the votes. I’m almost certain we have the votes,” Trump said.

Graham and Cassidy said Trump expressed some support for a bipartisan bill aimed at fixing some of the short-term problems of ObamaCare.

Leaders on the Senate Health Committee are getting closer to such a deal, but it’s not clear if it could pass the Senate, let alone make it all the way to Trump’s desk.

Trump, the senators said, “shares concerns about simply throwing good money after bad in propping up a structurally unsound Obamacare system which will eventually collapse.”