Overnight Health Care: GOP chairman declares bipartisan ObamaCare fix dead | Trump to make ObamaCare payments for September | Graham predicts 50 votes for ObamaCare repeal bill

Overnight Health Care: GOP chairman declares bipartisan ObamaCare fix dead | Trump to make ObamaCare payments for September | Graham predicts 50 votes for ObamaCare repeal bill
© Greg Nash

The Senate Health Committee chairman on Tuesday released a statement ending a bipartisan effort to find an ObamaCare fix amid a new GOP push to repeal the law. 

"During the last month, we have worked hard and in good faith, but have not found the necessary consensus among Republicans and Democrats to put a bill in the Senate leaders' hands that could be enacted," Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderSticking points force stimulus package talks to spill into Sunday GOP drafting stimulus package without deal with Democrats Senate coronavirus stimulus talks spill into Saturday MORE (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate health committee, said in a statement. 

The effort at a bipartisan deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets had always faced headwinds, given the polarizing nature of the issue. But the effort faced even higher obstacles in recent days as Republicans refocused on a GOP-only effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.


Read more here.


Trump to make ObamaCare payments for September

The Trump administration will make key ObamaCare payments to insurers in September, though a final decision hasn't been made about future payments, a White House spokesman said Tuesday.

Insurers have been seeking long-term certainty that they'll continue to receive the disbursements, known as cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments.

The payments compensate insurers for lowering out-of-pocket costs for certain ObamaCare enrollees. However, the administration has been making the payments on a monthly basis.

Read more here.



Graham predicts ObamaCare repeal will get 50 votes

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on Campaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus MORE (R-S.C.) is predicting he will get enough votes on his bill to repeal ObamaCare and says House leadership has pledged they would also pass it.

"I really believe we're going to get 50 Republican votes," Graham told reporters after a closed-door GOP caucus lunch on Tuesday. "I've never felt better about where we're at."

He added that House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWho should be the Democratic vice presidential candidate? The Pelosi administration It's not populism that's killing America's democracy MORE (R-Wis.) has told him that if "you pass it, we pass it."

Graham's bullish tone comes as he and Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyTensions boil over on Senate floor amid coronavirus debate  Overnight Energy: Democratic lawmakers seek emissions reductions in airline bailout | House Dems warn Trump against oil industry bailout | GOP senators ask Saudis to stabilize oil market GOP senators ask Saudis to stabilize oil market MORE (R-La.) are trying to win over enough support for their bill that would repeal and replace much of ObamaCare.

The White House and Ryan have thrown their weight behind the bill as lawmakers face an end-of-the-month deadline to pass a repeal bill with a simple majority and avoid a Democratic filibuster. Read more here.  


Trump, White House all in on ObamaCare repeal push

President Trump and Vice President Pence have been making calls to senators and governors in a furious effort to gain support for a last-ditch ObamaCare repeal bill.

The Trump administration is making clear it's all in on the repeal push, with Pence warning that the White House will not support efforts to "fix" or "prop up" ObamaCare, likely a reference to the now dead bipartisan effort in the Senate Health Committee to craft a bill stabilizing ObamaCare's insurance markets.

Pence attended a Senate GOP lunch Tuesday and told senators "this is the moment" to repeal ObamaCare.

Read more here.



But hospitals come out against new ObamaCare repeal bill

The American Hospital Association is opposing the GOP's last-ditch ObamaCare repeal bill, saying the legislation puts the health coverage of 10 million people at risk.

"This proposal would erode key protections for patients and consumers and does nothing to stabilize the insurance market now or in the long term," Rick Pollack, AHA's president and CEO, said in a statement Tuesday.

"In addition, the block grant to provide support for the expansion population expires in 2026, thereby eliminating coverage for millions of Americans."

Read more here.


And governors raise the alarm...


A bipartisan group of governors including Republicans John Kasich (Ohio) and Brian Sandoval (Nev.) is urging the Senate to reject the latest ObamaCare repeal effort.

In a letter to Senate leaders, the governors urged lawmakers not to abandon bipartisan market stabilization talks led by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySenate coronavirus stimulus talks spill into Saturday Senate Democrats propose canceling student loan payments during coronavirus Stimulus plan hinges on McConnell, Schumer repairing toxic relationship MORE (D-Wash.).

"Only open, bipartisan approaches can achieve true, lasting reforms," the governors wrote.

Later in the afternoon, though, Alexander declared the bipartisan efforts dead.

Read more here.


AARP also calls on senators to reject latest ObamaCare repeal bill


The AARP on Tuesday slammed the latest ObamaCare repeal bill and called on senators to reject it.

The bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) would increase health-care costs for older Americans with an age tax, decrease coverage and undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, the group said.

The AARP also blasted the idea that the Senate could vote on the measure without a full Congressional Budget Office analysis of coverage losses and its impact on premiums.

Read more here.


GOP faces risks, rewards in rushing to repeal vote without CBO score

Senate Republicans are rushing toward a vote on an ObamaCare repeal bill without getting a full analysis from the Congressional Budget Office on how their legislation would affect coverage and premiums.

It's a risky move, as Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP presses for swift Ratcliffe confirmation to intel post Campaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus Senate eyes quick exit after vote on coronavirus stimulus package MORE (R-Maine) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJuan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal Ernst calls for public presidential campaign funds to go to masks, protective equipment President Trump is right — Now's the time for 'all hands on deck' MORE (R-Ariz.) have both said they'd prefer to have a full score before casting their votes.

Yet it could also pay dividends for Republicans, who would prefer to hold a vote on their measure without headlines about a CBO score that could project that millions would lose insurance or see their premiums rise under the legislation.

Republicans can lose only two votes and still pass the bill under special budgetary rules that prevent Democrats from filibustering the legislation.

Read more here.


What we're reading

Cost of employer-provided health insurance rises toward $19,000 a year (The Wall Street Journal)

How the opioid crisis is blowing a hole in small-town America's finances (Reuters)

Blue states face biggest cuts under new Republican health care plan (The New York Times)


State by state

GOP lieutenant governor wants to end Ohio Medicaid expansion (Associated Press)

Top Louisiana health official warns GOP health care bill's author that it'll screw his state (Business Insider)