Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum

Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum
© Greg Nash

A last-ditch effort by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace ObamaCare is gaining steam, suggesting lawmakers could face another vote on ending the former president's signature law later this month.

Supporters do not appear to have the 51 votes necessary to pass the bill yet, but pressure is growing on Republicans to back the measure, which could replace much of ObamaCare with block grants for states.

In a crucial boost for its chances on Monday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) offered his support.


"Congress has 12 days to say 'yes' to Graham-Cassidy. It's time for them to get the job done," he said, referring to the bill's two main co-sponsors, Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Pence tours Rio Grande between US and Mexico GOP looks for Plan B after failure of immigration measures MORE (R-S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyTo lower prescription drug prices, fix existing drug discount programs Kimmel writer tweets amount NRA has given lawmakers in response to shooting prayers Overnight Regulation: Trump unveils budget | Sharp cuts proposed for EPA, HHS | Trump aims to speed environmental reviews | Officials propose repealing most of methane leak rule MORE (R-La.).

Ducey's support is important because Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.) has said the Arizona governor's position would be an important factor in how he votes.

McCain helped kill the repeal effort in July, calling for committee hearings and a bipartisan process, but he has left the door open to voting for Graham and Cassidy's bill.

Still, McCain on Monday criticized the rushed process leading up to a possible vote next week, while not ruling out voting for the bill.

"The governor of Arizona is favorably inclined, but I am going to have to have a lot more information," McCain said.

He reiterated his call for committee hearings and amendments, known as "regular order."

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe siren of Baton Rouge Interior plan to use drilling funds for new projects met with skepticism The 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework MORE (R-Alaska), another crucial vote, also said Monday she is still studying the impacts on her state.

Senate GOP leadership is becoming more engaged. A source who has spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE's (R-Ky.) office described him as "taking it very seriously."

"The Leader asked CBO to prioritize the score on the legislation," said McConnell spokesman David Popp. "We expect regular staff briefings and Member discussions to continue."

Read more here.


Schumer threatens to slow down Senate over ObamaCare repeal

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Schumer: Trump budget would ‘cripple’ gun background checks Schumer: Senate Republicans' silence 'deafening' on guns, Russia MORE (D-N.Y.) says Democrats are willing to jam up the Senate to stop the GOP's latest ObamaCare repeal bill.

"We're going to look at every possible way to slow this bill down," Schumer said during a Monday press conference.

Mostly powerless to set the legislative agenda as the minority party, Democrats have some delaying tactics at their disposal.

They've previously blocked congressional committees from meeting after the Senate was in session for two hours, for instance. They've also held the Senate floor over night in protest.

Read more here.


CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill next week

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Monday it's aiming to provide a "preliminary assessment" of a repeal bill sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) by early next week.

The score will include information on whether the legislation would reduce deficits by at least as much as was estimated for the House repeal bill passed earlier this year. It will also assess if the bill would save at least $1 billion and whether it would increase on-budget deficits in the long term.

But the nonpartisan scorekeeper warned the preliminary score will not include information on how the bill will affect health care coverage or insurance premiums. The CBO said it will be several more weeks before analysts will have those projections.

Read more here.


Democratic leaders want full CBO analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill  

Democrats on Monday asked the Congressional Budget Office to conduct a full analysis on coverage losses that would result from the latest Senate GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

In a letter sent to the nonpartisan budget office, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the public needs a "full understanding of the impact this legislation would have" on Americans.

Read more here.


Paul worried new 'ObamaCare' repeal bill could pass

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDem wins Kentucky state House seat in district Trump won by 49 points GOP's tax reform bait-and-switch will widen inequality Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived MORE (R-Ky.) said he's worried the latest attempt to repeal ObamaCare might pass, and the unintended consequences could be severe.

"There's a big groundswell of people pushing for this," Paul told Reporters on Monday. "Two weeks ago, I'd have said zero [chance it'll pass], but now I'm worried."

Paul has called the bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) "Obamacare lite" and said he will not support it.

"This does not look, smell or even sound like repeal," Paul said. "I'm kind of surprised this has been resurrected because I don't think it has been fully thought through."

Paul voted in favor of the failed "skinny" ObamaCare repeal bill over the summer only after Senate leadership allowed a vote on an amendment that would have repealed the law in full.

Read more here


Graham: Trump trying to sell governors on latest ObamaCare repeal plan

President Trump is calling governors to try to get their support for a last-ditch ObamaCare repeal effort taking place in the Senate, says Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

"He's on the phone as I speak getting governors who are a little nervous about this, saying we're not going to let you fail, we're going to give you the flexibility over time and we're going to empower you unlike anything you've ever seen," Graham told Breitbart News over the weekend.

"This is the last best chance to stop the employer mandate, and get the money and power out of Washington back to the states in the hands of governors who can be creative. Here's what will happen. Some governors will figure this out. And other governors will begin to follow their lead."

Read more here.


Arizona governor backs new ObamaCare repeal bill

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday endorsed a new Senate Republican bill that would repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Ducey, a Republican, called the legislation offered by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (La.) "the best path forward" to gut the health-care law.

He also said the Senate had "12 days" to get the job done, a reference to the fact that Republicans will lose the right to use special budgetary rules to avoid a Democratic filibuster at the end of the month.

Read more here.


March of Dimes, American Heart Association oppose new Senate repeal-and-replace bill

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association and the March of Dimes on Monday came out in opposition to the latest Senate GOP bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

They are among 16 groups that released a joint statement criticizing the bill, which Republican sponsors say is nearing the 51 votes necessary for passage.

"This bill would limit funding for the Medicaid program, roll back important essential health benefit protections, and potentially open the door to annual and lifetime caps on coverage, endangering access to critical care for millions of Americans," the groups wrote in a statement. "Our organizations urge senators to oppose this legislation."

Read more here.


Murkowski still studying new ObamaCare repeal bill

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who could be the deciding vote on a new ObamaCare repeal bill, says she is still studying the measure and its effects on Alaska.

"I need to figure out how all the numbers work with regards to Alaska," she told a small group of reporters Monday.

She indicated she needed to make sure there would be enough money for Alaska in the bill's new block grants.

"We understand what block grants do, but if you get more flexibility, but with not enough money to utilize the flexibility, that makes a difference," she said.

Read more here.


Ad targets Heller for support of ObamaCare repeal bill

A new ad is targeting Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThe siren of Baton Rouge Big Republican missteps needed for Democrats to win in November What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes MORE (R-Nev.) for his support of a last-ditch ObamaCare repeal bill in the Senate.

The digital ad from pro-ObamaCare group Save My Care shows the "consequences of passing ... health care repeal for people with pre-existing conditions."

"If the Republican health-care repeal bill passes, coverage could be unaffordable for people with life threatening diseases like cancer even when they need it the most," a narrator says in the ad.

"Sen. Heller, keep your promise, vote no on health-care repeal."

Read more here.


What we're reading:

Amid opioid crisis, insurers restrict pricey, less addictive painkillers (The New York Times)

How Graham-Cassidy redistributes federal money (Axios)

The latest health care repeal plan would give states sweeping discretion (The New York Times)


State by state

Graham pushes his health plan, but can't get home state governor to go along (McClatchy DC)

Virginia estimates $1.2 billion hit to Medicaid program under latest Senate health plan (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Ohio House considers overriding Gov. Kasich's Medicaid expansion veto (Associated Press)