Overnight Health Care: Senate won't vote on ObamaCare repeal bill | GOP chairman ready to resume bipartisan talks | Republicans nix idea of pairing repeal with tax reform

Overnight Health Care: Senate won't vote on ObamaCare repeal bill | GOP chairman ready to resume bipartisan talks | Republicans nix idea of pairing repeal with tax reform
© Greg Nash

Senate Republicans have decided to not vote on their latest ObamaCare repeal legislation, signaling a collapse in their last-ditch effort to kill off President Obama's signature law.

"We don't have the votes so it's probably best we don't do the vote," said Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesMontana lawmakers cheer recommendation to ban mining north of Yellowstone Congress passes bill to require Senate campaign filings to be made electronically Congress just failed our nation’s veterans when it comes to medical marijuana MORE (R-Mont.) after the GOP conference met at its regular weekly luncheon. "We've lost this battle, but we're going to win the war."

The last-ditch bill sponsored by Sens. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyOvernight Health Care: GOP plays defense over pre-existing conditions | Groups furious over new Trump immigration proposal | Public health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Overnight Health Care: Opioids package nears finish line | Measure to help drug companies draws ire | Maryland ObamaCare rates to drop Overnight Health Care: HHS diverts funds to pay for detaining migrant children | Health officials defend transfers | Lawmakers consider easing drug company costs in opioids deal MORE (R-La.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Press: Judge Kavanaugh must withdraw Kavanaugh: 'I will not be intimidated into withdrawing' MORE (R-S.C.) would dismantle ObamaCare's insurance subsidy program and Medicaid expansion and convert their funding into block grants to states.

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"We don't have the votes," Cassidy acknowledged after meeting with his colleagues on Tuesday for more than an hour.

"We made the decision since we don't have the votes, we're going to postpone it," he added, expressing disappointment.

Graham said the health care debate will resume after Congress tries to move a tax reform package and expressed confidence his bill will eventually muster 50 votes.

"It's not if, only a matter of when," he said, adding that with more "attention" and "time," the bill could eventually become law.

In the meantime, Graham and Cassidy plan to tour the country to build support.

"We're going to take our show on the road," Graham said.

Graham and Cassidy came a lot closer to success than many would have anticipated just two weeks ago.

In the end, they couldn't convince several of their colleagues, conservatives and centrists alike, to go along with their plan.

Read more here.

 

Chairman ready to resume bipartisan ObamaCare talks

Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care: GOP plays defense over pre-existing conditions | Groups furious over new Trump immigration proposal | Public health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE (R-Tenn.) left the door open Tuesday to restarting bipartisan talks on an ObamaCare stabilization bill.

"I'm still concerned about the next two years and Congress has an opportunity to slow down premium increases in 2018, begin to lower them in 2019, and do our best to make sure there are no counties where people have zero options to buy health insurance," Alexander said in a statement late Tuesday afternoon.

Alexander halted negotiations on a stabilization bill after a last-ditch effort to repeal ObamaCare began gaining steam last week.

Read more here.

 

GOP nixes pairing ObamaCare repeal with tax reform

In both the House and Senate, Republican leaders on Tuesday poured cold water on the idea of combining another ObamaCare repeal effort with tax reform in 2018.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynFord's lawyer: Hearing doesn't appear to be designed for 'fair', 'respectful' treatment GOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week GOP senator accuses Dems of ‘character assassination’ on Kavanaugh MORE (R-Texas) said he does not support combining tax reform and ObamaCare repeal in a single budget reconciliation measure that would allow the GOP to protect their bill from a Democratic filibuster.

He signaled the widespread GOP fear that adding a health-care debate to the tax bill will only bog down a reform package that is President Trump's new top priority.

Read more on Cornyn's remarks here.

 

In the House, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) also said he opposes that approach because it could "interfere potentially with tax reform."

He warned he would only support instructions for health care if the issue could be kept in a separate bill, which does not appear to be allowed under the rules.

Read more about Meadows here.

 

Trump rips 'so-called Republicans' over ObamaCare repeal failure

President Trump on Tuesday said he was "disappointed" that some "so-called Republicans" were opposing the Senate's latest effort to repeal ObamaCare.

"We were very disappointed by a couple of senators, Republican senators I must say, we were very disappointed that they would take the attitude that they did," Trump told reporters. "But we are disappointed in certain so-called Republicans."

Read more here.

 

House to vote on 20-week abortion ban

The House plans to vote next week on a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced Tuesday that the House would vote on the "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," on Oct. 3.

The bill last passed the House in 2015 but was blocked by Senate Democrats.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksFreedom Caucus members see openings in leadership AP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Jordan weathering political storm, but headwinds remain MORE (R-Ariz.), would make it a crime to perform or attempt an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with the possibility of a fine, up to five years in prison, or both.

Read more here

 

Florida lawmaker warned officials before retirement home tragedy

A day before eight residents from the same Florida nursing home died, Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonTrump, Obamas and Clintons among leaders mourning Aretha Franklin Clyburn rips Trump over Omarosa 'dog' comment: 'I don’t know of anything that has been more troubling to me' Dem lawmaker calls Trump racist in response to 'dog' comment MORE (D-Fla.) joined other state and federal officials on a Hurricane Irma recovery conference call and warned the situation could quickly turn deadly if power was not restored to local senior facilities.

The Florida Democrat's phone had been ringing nonstop since Hurricane Irma knocked out power to much of South Florida on Sept. 10. Wilson has 100 long-term care facilities in her Miami-area district, and many were begging her to help get the power -- and the air conditioning -- back on.

Wilson's account of the call suggests that officials at all levels of government -- including FEMA, Florida Gov. Rick Scott's (R) office and members of Congress -- were all made aware of the dangerous and deteriorating conditions at local nursing homes at least 12 hours before the first resident died at the sweltering Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills.

Read more here.

 

What we're reading

Failure of ACA repeal brings 'momentary relief' for hospitals and insurers (The Wall Street Journal)

The Republican senators who have opposed the many bills to repeal ObamaCare (The New York Times)

Big questions and big rate hikes persist ahead of final exchange rate-filing deadline (Modern Healthcare)

 

State by state

Will Arizona's off-label drug law spur changes elsewhere? (Stateline)

Nursing home deaths: Owner's hospital was paid $23.2 million for state prisoner health (Naples Daily News)

State health benefit scam bust racks up 2 more guilty pleas (NJ.com)